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"There's so much more that can be done in the Canadian market"

By David Saric
Insurance Business

Market is 'underdeveloped in some areas', Everest Insurance Canada CEO says

Renato Rodrigues, the newly appointed president and CEO of Everest Insurance Company of Canada, is excited to create a more nuanced presence in a market that has big potential.

“There’s so much more that can be done in the Canadian market,” Rodrigues told Insurance Business. “It is a particularly mature market but is underdeveloped in some areas.”

In an interview, Rodrigues spoke about how he will use his insight and position to expand the business in Canada and his views of the current marketplace.

Being more effective in the Canadian market

Prior to moving to Canada for this position with Everest, Rodrigues was working in his home country of Brazil, overseeing the Latin American division of AXA XL.

While he was in that position for quite a few years, Rodrigues hoped to relocate to a more mature market that was also bursting with new opportunities, which eventually led him to the Canadian insurance landscape.

COVID-related restrictions kept Rodrigues in Brazil for nine months, managing the operation, clients, brokers and a team in Canada, from Brazil.

“It was hard to immerse myself in the culture and socio-economic aspects of Canada from abroad,” he said, but eventually ended up making the leap from Sao Paolo to Toronto.

Two years into his tenure at AXA, Rodrigues was approached by Everest to lead its Canadian operations and elevate its capabilities, an offer he could not refuse.

“They wanted to become a relevant player in the market, making sure they had the right products and an opportunity for growth,” the Everest Insurance Canada CEO said.

Everest plans expansion in aviation and vertical building

One of the key sectors Rodrigues and Everest wanted to expand into is aviation, as the company does not have a robust product offering for that line of business.

“We just hired a leader for aviation and are very excited to build that offering out here in Canada,” he said.

According to Rodrigues, Canada and Brazil both share a similar emphasis on a resource-driven economy, which has given him and his colleagues ideas on how to create a better market for those lines of coverage.

“We’re trying to change the way we go to market by being more assertive,” he said. “We’re focused on creating verticals for mining or energy, and we can provide different solutions to be bundled together.”

To do this, Rodrigues and his team will have to bring in experts to align with business appetite in the nation.

“We started with mining and energy, and we will be slowly moving along to create a presence that is more client focused,” he said.

“ESG is creating new client opportunities”

Being recognized as a highly resource-driven economy, the push towards more corporate accountability through ESG endeavours is allowing for more activity within various industries.

“ESG is creating new client opportunities alongside some restrictions on capacity,” Rodrigues said.

“We are now finding ourselves assisting our insureds as they transition to more sustainable types of energy production, which is a trend that is occurring across the nation.”

Elsewhere in the Canadian insurance market, Rodrigues is keeping a close eye on rate increases due to inflation-driven price hikes.

“The amount of losses an insurer must pay is astronomical, which means that the rate decreases the industry had been predicting will not happen,” he said.

“This is true on the reinsurance side as well, as cat losses and wildfires have become more commonplace, and are creating a situation where rates must increase adequately to cover those types of losses.”

Cyber is also proving to be a burden on insurers in Canada, as the frequency and scope of claims and losses are consistently rising. “Some of the most recognized businesses in the country are still falling victim to ransomware and other data breaches,” Rodrigues said. “This is surely affecting capacity and introducing new exclusions — that is something we’re keeping an eye on.”

This originally ran in Insurance Business with the title, “There's so much more that can be done in the Canadian market”.