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Broken Windows

Recent headlines offer examples of how brokers can demonstrate the value of the services they provide. The G-20 summit in Toronto is bringing together political leaders from the world’s most prosperous nations, and the security concerns that arise from the gathering will mean Toronto’s downtown core will be turned into a quasi-militarized zone.

Ever since the Battle of Seattle at a World Trade Organization conference in 1999, summits in other cities have been flashpoints for large demonstrations, often resulting in violent clashes and widespread property damage. In Canada, for instance, the Summit of the Americas that took place in Quebec City in April 2001 is remembered for a melee with riot police after a security fence was toppled. More than 400 protesters were arrested and property damage was extensive.

Property damage, and who will pay for it, has become a central issue in the lead-up to the Toronto summit. On May 19, an anarchist group firebombed an Ottawa bank branch as a warning of what was to come in Toronto. A week later, a man was arrested in Toronto for vandalizing a number of bank machines with anti-G20 slogans. As well, Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan went on the warpath when he learned the federal government would not cover the costs of any third-party property damage to businesses during the summit. The government’s position is that it is not liable for losses and damages that are insurable under normal insurance coverage.

Councillor Vaughan told the Toronto Star that many businesses within the security zone, such as nightclubs, already have difficulty getting insurance coverage because of the nature of the business they operate.

So, what is the role of brokers in such extraordinary situations? An event like the G20 summit creates an opportunity to connect with existing clients and address concerns they may have about their coverage. It also may be an opportunity to generate new business with potential clients to whom price has always been the most important factor, rather than how comprehensive their coverage is.

In my three years here at Rogers Publishing working on magazines covering the manufacturing sector, I have learned a great deal about how extraordinary circumstances can be turned into opportunities. As the new editor of Canadian Insurance Top Broker, I look forward to discussing these and other issues with you. I’ll be hitting the pavement to ensure I meet our readers in the months ahead, and I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to call me at 416-764-1323 or e-mail me at daryl.angier@rci.rogers.com and let me know how the magazine can best serve you.

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

Transcontinental Media G.P.