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Middle market ‘in need of solutions’

By Jenny Yung
Underwriting Manager

QBE Canada builds multi-year growth strategy around middle market segment

The core of Canada’s economy is its small- to medium-sized enterprises, and to better serve these businesses, QBE Canada has turned its focus to its middle market insurance offering.

As an established large and specialty insurer in Canada, QBE is keen to do more to support the needs of mid-sized organizations. To that end, a newly hired team has spent the last six months refreshing its commercial package offering to meet the needs of this customer group, with a boosted appetite and broader wording.

The product will cover risks across property, business interruption, crime, and casualty, with some enhanced coverages available by extension under a single combined policy.


In need of solutions

Inflation and continuing supply chain disruptions are two of the top risks middle market businesses face today. This, coupled with tightening capacity within some industries by many insurance companies, has made it challenging for brokers and their customers to get adequate protection for their risks.

Amid the pressure from inflationary cost increases and rising replacement cost values, getting the right level of coverage and correct valuation for mid-market customers is crucial.  For our team at QBE, we saw an opportunity to successfully bring more capacity into the market to service the needs of this segment.

Valuation is top of the agenda right now, because when customers need a replacement for property or contents, if we’re not able to pinpoint the correct valuation, they can experience a loss that affects their business.

As experienced underwriters who know the impact a claim can have, we can utilize valuation tools to help these clients and, in collaboration with the broker, ensure they have the right level of insurance in place.


Targeting the middle-market segment

Since QBE open its first branch in Canada in 2009, our focus has primarily been on writing large and specialty risks, drawing on our strong standing and appetite established within Lloyd’s.

The leadership team within QBE recognized that the timing was right to make a strategic addition to our offering. While QBE is a major player in the large account space, this segment represents only a small portion of all businesses operating in Canada. We knew that the attributes which have made QBE successful in the large account sector could also make us a major player within mid-market sector also.  Brokers supporting mid-sized businesses will more than likely require a package solution, so that is what our refreshed offering is built around.

The focus for QBE package offering is businesses operating in the manufacturing, real estate, professional services, technology, financial institutions, and construction sectors. QBE is targeting those with insurance premium in the $30,000 to $300,000 range and with an initial regional focus of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.


Expanding presence in Canada

In addition to the growing needs of the middle market segment, brand recognition has also played a key role in QBE’s decision to launch a refreshed package offering.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve been able to firmly establish ourselves here in Canada, and there’s now more brand awareness in the broker community. That’s exactly why it was the right time to for us to pursue new clients in the middle market space and key reason why QBE has chosen to make package its focus area for growth for the next couple of years.

With QBE’s offices in Toronto and Vancouver, our geographical focus to start will be British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.  As our portfolio grows, we know we’ll want to spread our wings a little wider; so, we already have ambitions to grow the team and in turn expand the territories we can service.

As a large, international insurer, we’re proud of the multinational capabilities we can make available to mid-sized businesses, and we see this as one of QBE’s key differentiators in the market. We’re able to issue local policies in 180 countries, 28 of which are countries where QBE has an office that we can tap into for their expertise.

But what makes us great is our people; we have very empowered underwriters, and we have the autonomy to make decisions, allowing us to act quickly.


A version of this article first appeared on 4 July 2023 on the Insurance Business Canada website