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The New Hypotheticals

August 2013 Editorial

I wrote my editorial for our last issue on making overland flood insurable in Canada just two days before the freak storm that hit Toronto in July. I have lived here all my life and I have never seen anything to rival the weather that actually trapped a GO Train in floodwaters, creating a seven-hour rescue drama to get everyone off the woefully swamped green giant.

What strikes me about this storm and others is that we appear to have reached a historical tipping point where many risk events that were once only what-if scenarios, dreamed up by risk managers, insurers and brokers, are actually coming to pass and playing out in the real world. Weather events such as Superstorm Sandy have been the most prominent among these nightmares brought to life, but the same pattern is playing out in the unpredictable swells of recent social behaviour as well. Regan Reid’s article on insuring against civil unrest in this issue makes clear that political violence and social disruption is spreading like a virus through the world these days, and not just in developing economies. Recent uprisings in heretofore “safe” countries like Turkey and Brazil demonstrate that business interruption due to violence is no longer an abstract threat. A good example is our own home. Student protests about tuition gripped Montreal for most of last summer, and the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day riot in London, Ont., along with the post-Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver in 2011 demonstrate that random destruction can break out suddenly, even in peaceful, well-policed societies like ours.

It’s a good thing we’re heading into the fall conference season when a lot of out-loud thinking about these problems goes on. Colonel Chris Hadfield’s appearance at the RIMS Canada conference in Victoria, BC, October 6-9 undeniably adds a bit of rock star appeal to that agenda.

For our part, Canadian Insurance Top Broker proudly returns this year as media sponsor for the 3rdAnnual Enterprise Risk Management Canada Conference, September 17-18 in Toronto. We also return as a Silver level sponsor to the insurance industry’s annual presidents’ summit, the National Insurance Conference of Canada, in Gatineau, Que., September 22-24. Finally, you won’t want to miss our third annual Top Broker Summit, taking place December 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto. We’ll be telling you much more about it over the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing you there.

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Copyright 2013 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the August 2013 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

Transcontinental Media G.P.