The risks linked to climate change have cost insurance companies dearly this year, but it is the issues linked to cyberattacks and data protection that are of greater concern to business leaders in Canada, according to Aon Canada. Stéphane Lspérance, CEO of the Canadian division of the British risk management and professional business services giant, explains why.

Little known to the general public, Aon Canada has been active in the country for more than 25 years in insurance and reinsurance as well as in pension and health plan management, since the company made the almost simultaneous acquisition of era of the companies Dale Parizeau, in Quebec, and Reed Stenhouse, in Ontario.

“We are mainly in the institutional market where we support large companies in Quebec Inc. which shine internationally. Our main business vector remains risk management for our clients.

“We also have a strong presence in the public sector with state corporations, school boards, CEGEPs and universities for whom we administer pension plans and provide risk management,” summarizes Stéphane Lspérance, CEO of Aon Canada since 2019.

Each year, Aon Canada conducts a survey of its major clients, through their CEOs, CFOs or risk managers, to find out their concerns regarding the major issues that may affect them and, again year, cyberattacks and data protection breaches take the top spot in this annual assessment.

“There are standard solutions to insure our customers in the event of attacks, but many companies prefer to take out insurance tailored to their needs, taking part of the risks themselves and sharing some with us.

“Our strategy is based on our ability to respond to the issues that affect our customers. It is important to clearly identify their concerns in order to better support them,” underlines the risk management specialist.

Besides cybersecurity, the second most important concern for Canadian business leaders remains their inability to attract or retain the best talent, while the third concerns operating losses in the event of a disaster.

“Climate change is increasingly becoming a significant concern. This year alone, insurers have compiled more than 1 billion claims to date in Canada for wildfires that took place in the spring and summer. Losses due to interruption of operations have reached significant levels,” says the manager.

These significant claims will result in greater difficulty for insurance companies to reinsure themselves to protect against natural disasters while the deadline for taking out reinsurance is January 1st.

Aon Canada has just moved its workforce to 1000 De La Gauchetière West, where the offices of Stéphane Lspérance are located, although the head office is officially in Toronto. Aon Canada employs 3,000 people in the country, including 450 in Quebec, mainly in Montreal and Quebec City.

Each region of the country has its own teams of professionals, whether insurance brokers, benefits advisors, tax specialists, actuaries, legal specialists or engineers… and there is even a pharmacist in the Montreal team.

“We have a very decentralized structure. Since becoming CEO in 2019, I have brought my office back to Montreal, which has always been important to Aon Canada, dating back to the days of Aon Dale Parizeau. »

Same thing internationally. Aon’s headquarters – which has 50,000 employees in 120 countries – is in London, but the global executive committee only meets in person once a year in a different city each time, including Montreal.

Stéphane Lspérance’s North American boss is in Ohio, even though the group’s American headquarters is in Chicago.

“Canada is Aon’s third largest market in the world after the United States and Great Britain. We achieve nearly 1 billion in turnover in Canada, with insurance premiums of 4 billion, and 3 billion in pension fund and group insurance management,” explains the CEO.

Among the major clients of Québec inc. of Aon Canada in Quebec, we find Cascades, Garda World, Boralex, Saputo, Pomerleau, the Petra Group… All the cranes that we see in operation in Montreal are insured by Aon Canada.

“We are present in all sectors of activity, whether it is construction, the mining sector or services. We support large Quebec companies even in risk management of major environmental, social and governance issues, whether on a national or international scale,” explains Stéphane Lspérance.