Canadian company drafts in independent board member

Published: June 26, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



BFL Canada has taken a unique step in the Canadian insurance industry. The company has appointed an M&A independent advisor to its board of directors. Company founder Barry Lorenzetti says the decision was made because he wanted to bring diversity to the board by adding someone from outside insurance.

Norman Steinberg is not associated with insurance and is not a professional within the industry. Speaking to Insurance Business after his first board meeting, he said he understood his remit:

“When you bring someone from the outside, you get a fresh perspective on things,” Steinberg said. “The best functioning boards are the boards that have general diversity. Diversity means diversity in terms of expertise, in terms of geography, in terms of experience and it terms of gender and ethnicity.”

So, should all Canadian insurers take this independent approach? After-all, an unbiased opinion is valuable. Steinberg independents certainly provide an outlook that can be important, but independence itself does not guaranteed unbiased decisions.

“I wouldn’t use the word unbiased, maybe it’s a nuance. When you have a private company like BFL it’s populated by insiders who are basically its management,” Steinberg said. “One of the things Barry Lorenzetti, the chairman, said he was looking for was an outside view as opposed to an inside view.”