By: Luke Jones, Published on April 16, 2017 10:30 AM, Last Update on April 16, 2017 07:32 AM
Broker associations across Canada have a different view on Aviva Canada’s decision to offer a team-based insurance product to its customers. The Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM) says it still believes Aviva is a “broker-friendly company”.
The opinion offered by IBAM CEO Dave Schioler is in stark contrast to the opinions of association in Ontario (IBAO) and New Brunswick (IBANB) have both suspended the company.
Aviva Canada has been embroiled in a dispute with IBAO since it launched a “team branded” home and auto insurance solution in Ontario during January. The company is targeting the insurance policies at fans of the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs sports franchises. Aviva says those products will be offered at competitive prices to entice fans. The coverage is underwritten by Aviva subsidiary S&Y Insurance Company.
However, Schioler, who will step down as IBAM CEO in 2018, sees it differently:
“We do not believe that the distinction of the name of the direct offering by Aviva should interfere with our association and with our brokers working with Aviva,” he said. “Other companies have direct channels and they’re differently named but you could argue Aviva is even more transparent about what they’re doing. To us, this is another broker-friendly company that does $4 billion of business with brokers that is not going to throw that business away, but would rather grow it, enhance it.
“What IBAO has done and what the New Brunswick association has done shows they’re concerned that Aviva Direct is branded under its own name. We don’t see that distinction as being very important at all.”
“We think the Alberta and B.C. associations are taking a similar approach but they can speak for themselves,” Schioler said.
The CEO adds that major insurance companies offering direct-to-consumer solutions are merely acting to combat a rise in tech start-ups and competitions from bigger companies.
“Where this presents an opportunity for brokers is, these companies are working hard with the broker channel and working hard to survive and that’s part of why they have direct delivery systems,” he explained. “Aviva has Aviva Direct and belairdirect is with Intact and Sonnet with Economical - they need to play in this market space because some consumers demand it, and also to fend off the disruptors and other companies trying to get into the Canadian market like the Geicos and AllStates.”