2019: A recovery in the Surety Industry nationally and a solid year of operations for Western Surety

As Western Surety Company’s 110th year of operations winds down, Scott Donald, President and CEO, considers the changes in the surety industry that took place in 2019 and reflects on the surety landscape from 10 and 20 years ago. The recent sale of the Guarantee Company of North America to Intact Insurance is the largest in Canadian surety history and this will have a huge impact in the industry. As well, in late 2019, three ‘start up’ surety divisions within highly respected companies entered into an already competitive surety marketplace.

If we look back at the companies writing surety in 2009, there are only four current Western Surety competitors remaining from that year’s Top 10 and stretching back to 1999, there are only three. During a time of great impact to the industry, Donald says Western Surety remains consistent and strong.

“Western Surety is now the oldest surety company in Canada and from day one, we have been owned by the Hill Family of Regina. We are proud of our Canadian, family owned status and that stability leading to predictability is what has endeared Western Surety to brokers, reinsurers and contractors for many decades. Unlike many of our competitors, including those that were very successful and well respected, from 1999, 2009 or 2019, Western Surety has been a constant in the surety industry and we have stood the test of time.”

From a comprehensive financial standpoint, 2019 was a fairly standard year for Western Surety; however the demographics of premium production was unusual. While the company’s top line has marginally decreased, our loss ratio will again be in the mid-teens.

“Like a number of other Canadian businesses, we have had large market footprints in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” says Donald. “Our decreased premium writings in those provinces was not a surprise. I think as an industry, we are all aware of the economic difficulties prevalent in those provinces and these appear to show limited signs of improvement in the near future. However, at Western Surety, we’ve remained strong nationally and in 2019, we were quite pleased to see British Columbia lead all provinces in premium generation for the first time in our history.”

On a national surety basis, it appears that 2019 will conclude with much more positive results than those realized in 2018. However, most companies, including Western Surety, have observed the uptick in the sheer number of disputes and less significant claims. According to many industry leaders, including Scott Donald, 2020 will be a difficult year for claims and ‘new’ premium.

While very confident that the underwriting philosophies in place at Western Surety will continue to successfully guide the company’s operations into the future, securing quality surety personnel will present a challenge for all surety brokers and companies. “We have an incredible number of quality young professionals in our industry and the laws of supply and demand are working in their favour.” Donald adds with a smile, “It’s a great time to be in the surety industry!”

The end of the years brings us no greater joy than the opportunity to express to you season’s greetings and a ‘thank you’ for the support throughout 2019. On behalf of the Western Surety staff, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year!

Christmas Charity Donation

Continuing our tradition of having our employees enter into a draw for the right to select Western Surety’s annual Christmas charity donation, Greg Salmon, Senior Regional Manager, Regina Head Office, chose the Regina Transition House. We are very pleased to support this very worthwhile charity.

Long Term Service Award

Congratulations to our long-term service award recipient, Jennifer Campbell, Regina Head Office, who received her 20 year award at our annual Christmas party. Presenting her award is Paul Hill, Owner and Chairman (left) and Brent Oshanek, Vice President (right).

Christmas Holiday Schedule

Our Regina, Toronto, and Halifax offices Holiday Schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, December 24th – CLOSING AT NOON
Wednesday, December 25th – Christmas Day – CLOSED
Thursday, December 26th – Boxing Day – CLOSED
Friday, December 27th - CLOSED
Tuesday, December 31st – CLOSING AT 3:00 PM (local time)
Wednesday, January 1st – New Year’s Day - CLOSED


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