Forgeron takes IBC forward: Caps, climate and communication a priority

Shortly after his appointment Don Forgeron set the tone for the next year at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual general meeting, held on April 28, 2009.

Forgeron, who was recently appointed president and CEO of IBC, used the opportunity to reinforce the association’s position on auto insurance, national and provincial regulation, the resiliency of Canada’s P&C industry, and IBC’s commitment to climate change adaptation.

“This toxic combination of financial circumstances could present IBC with an ideal opportunity to remind decision-makers that while Canada’s P&C insurance industry is resilient, it is not invincible, and that our members need smarter—not necessarily more—regulation if they are going to compete and thrive under adverse circumstances.”

Auto insurance challenges

Forgeron spoke to IBC’s members about recent court challenges in a few Canadian provinces against minor injury regulation (MIR) caps. He reinforced IBC’s commitment to communicating and reinforcing the need for a sustainable auto insurance product in every province.

“We all know that Canada’s auto insurance industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world,” said Forgeron. “Add to this the fact that Canada’s auto insurers are currently facing four minor injury cap challenges and one major auto insurance review, and it becomes clear that the stakes are quite high.”

The new president, appointed only a week before the AGM, reiterated that IBC would continue to advocate for cost-saving reforms in Ontario, resume talks on risk-based regulation in Alberta—where a court ruling struck down the cap on soft tissue injuries last year—and vigilantly watch and lobby policy-makers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where constitutional court challenges against the provinces MIRs are in various stages of discovery.

Priority for 09: Climate change adaptation

The new president was also excited to talk about the association’s commitment to climate change, which is now a priority issue for IBC.

“We plan to create a dialogue on the urgent need to adapt to the effects of climate change in Canada,” said Forgeron. “To support our industry’s leadership position on this critical issue, IBC recently established a new Adaptation to Climate Change Coalition. [In a short time] 90% of IBC’s membership joined the coalition, with non-members also signing on their support.”

Forgeron’s comments were reinforced by Rowan Saunders, chair of the IBC board, who used the event to list and reinforce the achievements of the organization over the last 12 months.

Successes over last 12 months

“I can say with confidence that IBC’s forceful call for urgent and meaningful change has succeeded in raising awareness, among politicians and regulators alike, that very serious problems are plaguing the auto insurance system in Ontario,” said Saunders.

Saunders continued by saying that the IBC also initiated and supported a distracted driving campaign—which helped a legislative bill pass in mid-April that prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving—a campaign that promoted the green transportation act, and comprehensive auto theft legislation that, if passed, would give courts, law enforcement officers and Canada Border Service Agencies better tools to attack this national problem.

Forgeron concluded the event by saying that in 2009, with the launch of IBC’s new logo, we will “see a bolder and stronger look for the organization. It will symbolize how well positioned IBC is for the challenges of the future—and the vigour and vision with which we will embrace the tasks ahead.”

Originally published in Canadian Insurance Business Magazine in April 2009

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