Is The Hard Market Here To Stay?

The basis of all business can be condensed down into the concept of supply and demand. It’s quite simple, really; you have what I want, and I have what you want. Both parties engage in an exchange and, voila, there is business.

There has been a lot of talk in the insurance industry lately, though, that there is currently a hard market in place. In fact, we have weighed in on this ourselves – with our market outlook of 2019 and the subsequent mid-year follow up.

So, what is a hard market? In short, it is when supply and demand are in a state of dissonance. There is a high demand yet the supply just isn’t there. That is what is currently happening in the insurance industry – a high demand for coverage with a shockingly low amount of insurers willing to provide said coverage.

Why, then, is this? There are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, insurance agencies are paying out a record number in claims which has led to the lowest levels of profitability in the last 20 odd years. Moreover, this situation has created fears regarding an elevated insolvency risk; all in all, it is a dire situation at its surface.

Yet, the insurance industry has gone through hard markets before and come out on the other end even stronger. So is there really anything to worry about? Is this just another temporary setback?

It turns out the answer to that question may be scarier than we’d like to think. The second reason for this hard market, and perhaps the most important one, is that there has been a technological shift – and it may be one that stays prevalent for time to come.

In short, the biggest contributor to the state of the current market is data. Insurance has always been a data-based industry; except data has never been this readily available with this level of access before.

Technological advancements – as well as the rise of AI – has meant that insurers now have an abundance of data at their fingertips almost instantly. Using this data, agencies have become more hard-lined and impatient. Whenever a pattern of losses seems to emerge, these agencies switch themselves out immediately.

In turn, this causes issues for brokers and the people they are trying to help get coverage. One of the biggest concerns at present is the cancellation of contracts. More than half the brokers across the nation, according to a poll that will be published in August by Canadian Underwriter, have experienced contract cancellations due to the nature of this market.

Taking a client who has had a contract cancelled to another carrier, though, can be even more challenging because of the apprehension around loss rations.

As it turns out, some insurers don’t believe this is a hard-market at all. Monica Ningen, the CEO of Swiss Re Canada, stated that “I don’t personally know if I would call it a hard market … what I would call it is pricing coming back up to something that is a long-term sustainable level.”

That, then, seems to be the reality of the market. It’s a game of insurance chess between brokers and insurers – with the right balance being struck the ultimate goal as each keep the other in check. Rest assured, at Hubbard, we will continue the good fight in the name of the client.

To learn more about how you can navigate these murky waters, contact one of our licensed brokers now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or simply call us at 905-696-9090.


Source: Canadian Underwriter

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The One Big Reason You Need Personal Umbrella Coverage

When insurance is mandatory and straightforward, it’s pretty easy to buy into. This is why auto, home, and health insurance are as popular as they are. They all make sense – if something happens to your car, home, or body and mind, then you will be covered.

Yet, there is another kind of insurance that makes just as much sense – if not more – than the aforementioned three; but it seems to be lacking in popularity. Is this an awareness issue? Is it just too complicated?

The type of insurance we’re talking about is called Personal Umbrella Coverage. Long story short, this type of policy offers more coverage for less money. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

So, what is personal umbrella coverage? Essentially, it is a type of extra liability insurance that goes above and beyond the limits of a typical home and/or auto policy. This policy offers protection against lost income and legal fees associated with claims – in some cases, even for incidents outside of Canada.

It is, at its core, a way to protect your savings and assets – it acts as a failsafe when everything else goes wrong. And something is bound to go wrong.

Why, then, is it not as popular amongst people? One major reason is that there is a prevalent attitude of “oh, it wouldn’t happen to me” in modern society. Except, it is more likely to happen to you than you may realise.

Take auto insurance as an example. It would be unthinkable to drive around without insurance – even if it wasn’t mandatory. As discussed in a previous blog, the roads are getting more dangerous and premiums are definitely on the rise for a multitude of reasons. In fact, there are over 160,000 accidents that occur on a yearly basis in Canada.

Now, what if instead of 160,000 accidents occurring, over 625,000 occurred? That is the number of active lawsuits in Canada since 2017/2018.

Yes, you read that right – there are, as recent figures suggest, 625,181 active lawsuits currently in Canada. That’s 1,713 lawsuits every day – 71 every hour. Immediately, it becomes clear that coverage against losses incurred from a lawsuit might be more necessary than first thought.

The even bigger worry is that trends point towards increasing lawsuits being filed as the years go on. 2014 saw 596,000 lawsuits – and there has since been an increase every year until the latest figures were released.

Five straight years of increased lawsuits puts into numbers what many have already noticed – society is becoming more sue-happy by the day. One of the major contributors for this is social media. It has never been easier to accuse someone of libel, slander, or breach of privacy and these are no longer just idle threats.

Whether someone is going after you with malicious intent, or if you made a mistake, or even if it was all a misunderstanding – the bottom line is that you are at risk.

Another contributing factor has been hosting events. Whilst throwing a party seems like a fun, harmless act, the reality is that there is an increase in lawsuits arising from such situations. Alcohol is often at the centre of these events and once pets, children, or even strangers get involved – it can be a recipe for disaster.

Lastly, personal umbrella coverage is also incredibly useful as an add-on to auto insurance. A lot of the time, base policy limits are low and are insufficient to cover long-term care and loss of future income. Claim payouts get eaten up quickly and then things become desperate.

On the other hand, being the liable party in this scenario is just as destructive – the losses incurred are often astronomical. Having personal umbrella coverage, though, can offer a great deal of protection against any such situation.

Don’t wait, contact one of our licensed brokers to find out how you can benefit from personal umbrella coverage. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or simply call us at 905-696-9090.

Why not obtain more coverage for less money?



Source: Canadian Underwriter.

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Climate Change is Worse Than You Think

If it seems like weather forecasts are becoming decreasingly accurate and increasingly speculative – well, that’s because they are. Experts use present-day climate models to predict how severe the weather will be in the future; except those predictions are becoming inaccurate because of the destabilisation of weather that has been observed across the world.

The scary part here is that the volatile temperatures and climate shifts we face isn’t even the worst part. It’s one thing to be able to predict, track, and account for these changes. However, if those predictions become unreliable, we cannot truly prepare for those shifts. That, then, is where the real danger lies.

If apocalyptic weather is on its way, you want to be prepared for it at the very least. This uncertainty around it is exacerbated by the fact that it is entirely one-sided. When experts get their estimations wrong, it is almost always because they have underestimated the severity of what was to come.

Here is how the prediction process works. As with all scientific experiments, there is a “control” and then there is the variable change. Traditionally, experts were able to use a control model – one that does not account for climate change – to test for how often severe weather would occur. This control would then by compared to a similar model that accounts for climate change.

Through this comparison, then, scientists were able to account for the increase in severe weather – it was trackable. This meant that this information could not only be used for purposes of public safety but also for further research on how to tone down these effects. That, though, is no longer the case.

Despite still using this model, the accuracy of its results are now falling. The reason for this seems to be that, despite accounting for climate change, recent weather patterns have become so erratic that they are throwing off the entire model.

At this point, the obvious question is “well why not overestimate in the model to compensate?” Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. These models and mechanics are incredibly complicated – using depictions of jet streams to measure amplitude. However, current generation models don’t have the capacity to account for the severity we are seeing right now.

Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like. Climate change is now at the point where our current climate models don’t have the capacity to predict the severity of weather. This is why simple things such as using the weather app on your phone is not as accurate as it used to be. Moreover, this is why natural disasters are now occurring at a scary pace and we aren’t able to predict or deal with them.

A lot has been made about climate change. Some deny it, others think it might be overstated. The fact of the matter is, though, that it is worse than feared. Furthermore, it is going to keep getting worse if massive changes aren’t made and we will lose further capabilities to predict what will happen next.

When it comes to the Insurance Industry, climate change has a direct impact. Managing risk is the name of the game yet risk becomes unmanageable if even the weather cannot be predicted accurately. This has an effect on everything – from your car to your home to your business. Your next vacation may even be affected.

To learn more about how to stay protected, contact one of our licensed brokers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us today at 905-696-9090. Let us help keep you safe.



Source: Canadian Underwriter.

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The Pride of Hubbard, The End.

The sun is shining its brightest best, grills across the country are being fired up, and normalcy is slowly making a return. In the words of the legendary Nina Simone, “I’m feelin’ good.’

Welcome to the final part of our Pride series. In previous iterations, we have covered the origins of the Pride Parade as well as the origin of the Pride flag itself.

One thing that has become abundantly clear, then, is that the road to Pride is full of immense struggle, sacrifice, and sheer willpower.

Yet, the focus on most LGBT+ history tends to be on the movements in the United States. Canada, though, has its own rich – if not morbid – history.

Much like in the United States, LGBT+ movements didn’t truly start gaining momentum until the late 1960s. However, it wasn’t until 1981 when the movement kicked into high gear.

February 5th, 1981. Patrons of four bathhouses in downtown Toronto were going about their daily activities as if it were a normal day. Except, on this day, 200 police officers were coordinating raids on these establishments – “Operation Soap”.

The police force had spent six months undercover and found what they deemed to be “indecent acts” at each of these establishments. After a day of raiding, over 300 men were arrested. Yet, as many expected, the vast majority of these cases were thrown out.

The objective of these raids became clear – the police knew that the charges wouldn’t stick in the long-run, but it was the ideal way to strike fear into individuals and deter them from engaging in such a lifestyle.

These raids would go on for years and years to come – with a major one occurring in Toronto in the year 2000 during a women-only event. As with most previous raids, charges were dismissed. However, there was one difference this time around.

After the raid in 2000, a lawsuit was filed against the Toronto police. This eventually led to the development of training programs on how to interact with the LGBT+ community.

The relationship between the Pride movement and law enforcement, then, was strained for decades upon decades. All the way from the 1960s when people identifying as part of these movements were categorized as “sexual psychopaths” to the raids that occurred into this millennium – it is no wonder that the relationship was strenuous at best.

Things, though, are improving. Since the 2010s especially, the movement and its focus has become more nuanced – something that has only been possible due to the multitude of small battles that have been won along the way in regards to rights.

One such individual who has seen these changes throughout the years is Hubbard’s very own, John Hubbard.

I sat down with him to get his perspective on the matter.

 “Pride brings together communities and that’s what I love about it. Communities are the cornerstone of our society and, together, they have immense strength,” he said.

The idea of community and togetherness is clearly very important to John. He added that “I have always been emotionally moved by camaraderie, fellowship, and stories of people helping each other – these things are all good for the soul.”

This mindset, though, didn’t come about spontaneously. A major contributing factor to this was his upbringing – one that focused on being inclusive and diverse.

 “I was lucky enough to grow up in a progressive environment – I had friends who were gay, even an uncle; it was very normal for me,” he concluded.

It does make you think. The pattern seems to be that those who grow up in accepting, progressive environments end up having these values ingrained in themselves as they mature. To this point, John said “occasionally you do meet ignorant people – and ignorance is always at the heart of discrimination. Whether it’s discrimination against race, religion, gender, or sexuality; ignorance is the foundation of it.”

Education, then, is crucial when it comes to opening eyes and minds alike. Yet there are many forms of education. Whose responsibility should it be? Is there a standard that we should all be living up to?

“The only way to end discrimination is to educate. I believe a combination of social and institutional education is important,” he claimed. “Education starts at home,” continued John. “Biases get developed at home and that leads to further discrimination. We have a responsibility as parents, as a community, to ensure we are being good role models for future generations.”

This focus on education has its basis in a few different things. There is obviously the responsibility to educate those around us on the severity of issues regarding discrimination; but there is also a more intricate aspect that sometimes gets lost.

“If a kid hears “locker room talk”, that will eventually lead to some form of discrimination – whether that is against the LGBT+ community or violence against women,” John said.

One moment that struck out to him in particular was a visit to a university. John recalled, “I was doing a tour of a university and saw this poster on a door. It had a bunch of words on it and it really made a good point of stating that we shouldn’t use “gay” as a derogative of other things. I thought it was a great way to illustrate that point.”



There, then, lies the nuance. It is within the very language we speak – the commonplace words used on a daily basis. It wasn’t long ago where anything even remotely subpar was dismissed as being “gay”. More often than not, this dismissal had nothing to do with sexuality – yet the assertion that anything that wasn’t liked was “gay” provided a dangerous precedent.

Language evolves organically and it is that organic change that is the most sustainable. However, while organic change can take generations to fully come to fruition, it seems there has been an enlightenment in the past decade. This change, then, has been a team effort.

“Helping people is powerful. Togetherness is powerful,” John concluded.

These changes have followed suit to the workplace. As the President of the company, John is all-too-familiar with the different complexities that go into building a healthy work environment. A multitude of things need to be taken into consideration when building the right company culture.

“I like diversity,” he said. “I like it when people don’t take themselves too seriously, and you need to have that understanding of different cultures and lifestyles. It brings more flavour – as seen in our potlucks!” he joked.

This diversity – and the inclusive environment resulting from it – is not an accident. According to John, “especially in business, it is crazy not to have a workforce that accurately represents the diversity in society.”

Eventually, it all comes down to having a conversation. Without conversing, ideas won’t get shared and bliss will continue to befall those who are ignorant. “It is key to talk to people. Whether it’s with friends, family, confidantes – the best way to deal with a struggle is to open up and talk about it,” John said in closing.

Whether you are the one who is struggling through something or you’re someone who can see another’s struggle, a conversation must be had – it is imperative. To process thoughts and emotions is to address them and to speak to them. Even if the desired support isn’t always available, just by virtue of verbalising such thoughts means there is a chance at progression.

In the end, if we aren’t working towards a more inclusive, more positive finality then what are we working towards?

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Insurance Market Outlook 2019 - Mid-Year Update


At the beginning of each year, we try to ‘crystal ball’ where we see the insurance market. This year we spoke about the increasingly ‘hardening’ global insurance environment on the property casualty side of the business. This is due in no small part to the multiple catastrophic weather related events which resulted in unprecedented claims levels, increased rates, reduced market availability and stricter underwriting guidelines. Not a good combination to say the very least.

The continuing trend in this direction has raised concerns, enough that we wanted to do a mid-year update to our usual annual Insurance Market Outlook, something we have not done in over 25 years. This time with a singularly Canadian focus.

The Canadian Insurance Market, as an industry, continues to struggle, posting its lowest level of profitability in almost 20 years. These unfavorable financial results in 2019 Q1 have raised concerns about an elevated insolvency risk, catching the attention of regulators.

Canada has not had an insurer go bankrupt for more than 10 years, but sustained losses since 2015 are definitely on the radar of insurers and industry watchdogs as it is widely understood that the risk of an insurer becoming insolvent is one the rise.

One of the indicators of potential insolvency is the number of companies losing money. Regulators report that over 83% of companies were profitable in 2015. However Q1 2019 shows just 63%, the lowest in almost 30 years.

To put this in some context, reports show that Q1 2019 saw industry total underwriting losses of $756 million as compared to $119 million over the same period last year. That’s the unsustainable piece.

It was stated that there is not a lot of good news in the numbers, however, the capital base of Canada’s Insurance Industry on aggregate, has never been stronger.

That said, insolvencies happen to individual insurers not on the average. The industry watchdog, the PACICC, is keeping a close eye.

As in the past, we continue to monitor the industry and give an overview of where the markets are at, how it will impact both availability and cost of insurance for our clients. Our principal focus in 2019 remains to be advise our clients on the best road forward for them.

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