Message from
the Chair of
the Board
of Directors

Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors

New Leadership

This is a period of transition for Assuris with our new President & CEO, Paul Petrelli, leading the organization. While Assuris has always had strong leadership, Paul will bring his unique perspective from over 20 years in the industry. His legal background, strong understanding of the regulatory framework and his experience in mergers & acquisitions will be a tremendous asset in the unlikely event that a life insurance company fails.

It is also my final year on the Assuris Board of Directors. After having served as a director for ten years, four of which I had the pleasure of serving as Chair, I will be retiring.

The past year has been a challenging one. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the Canadian and worldwide economy. It is still uncertain if there will be increased solvency risks in the life insurance industry from the fallout of the pandemic. Assuris is focused on understanding these potential risks and always being resolution ready. Being resolution ready means being prepared to deal with the failure of any life insurance company in Canada. We will keep working with our members to obtain readily available key risk information which will allow us to identify and understand any new solvency risks in the industry. We will also continue to develop our resolution options and strengthen the tools to ensure a quick resolution. A quicker resolution means it will reduce the costs to the industry and ultimately minimize potential losses to policyholders.

With our new leadership, Assuris has a renewed commitment to further strengthen our partnerships with our members and the regulators. When we work together, we contribute to a robust Canadian financial system. For the members this means Assuris understanding the issues that impact our industry. And for the regulators this means continuous information sharing and if needed, early intervention to ensure that there are enough assets to protect policyholders. It is imperative that we maintain open lines of communication with the industry and regulators to remain resolution ready.

Finally, we need to understand and identify potential solvency issues under the new accounting standards, as the industry implements IFRS 17. The transition to IFRS 17 provides an opportunity to enhance the regulatory filings and receive better and more standardized information from the insurance industry.

We remain vigilant in fulfilling our mission to protect Canadian policyholders if their life insurance company fails.

Building on our Expertise

When I reflect on my years with Assuris, I am proud of what the organization has accomplished:

  • We worked with the industry to enhance our funding capacity to ensure that we meet the immediate financial needs of policyholders if a life insurance company fails.
  • We collaborated with the regulators and standard setters to enhance and strengthen solvency legislation and regulation.
  • We managed the liquidation of Union du Canada protecting over 22,000 Canadian policyholders from significant financial losses.
  • We established a strong Board by recruiting exceptional directors with regional and language representation as well as gender balance.
  • We established cooperation with other protection plans, nationally and internationally, as a founding member of the International Forum of Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IFIGS).

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board. I want to specifically thank Bill Knight for his contributions as he completed his term in 2020. I valued his insight and expertise in the financial services industry over the nine years he served on the Assuris Board. I also want to welcome Denis Berthiaume to the Assuris Board. His industry experience will be a great asset to the Board. I am handing over a strong board that will continue to provide oversight and foresight for Assuris.

Finally, I would like to thank Assuris management and staff for their support and hard work during my tenure. I specifically want to congratulate Gordon Dunning on his retirement. I always appreciated Gordon’s strong leadership to provide the best protection for Canadian policyholders. He did this by building and maintaining strong relationships with our members and the regulators. Gordon built a strong and reputable organization, leaving behind a legacy for the Assuris employees to carry forward.

Together, we successfully completed another year at Assuris. Under Assuris’ new leadership, the organization will continue to fulfill its mission in protecting Canadian policyholders.

Signature of Daniel Thornton

Dan Thornton
Chair of the Board of Directors

Assuris has a renewed commitment to further strengthen our partnerships with our members and the regulators. We will also continue to develop our resolution options and strengthen the tools to ensure a quick resolution.