Zurich Poised for Growth

Patrick Lundy, Zurich Canada

Patrick Lundy

A Dedication to Canadian Business Success

Editors’ Note

Patrick Lundy’s many years of experience include executive management roles in both the U.S. and Canada including Head of the Zurich Healthcare business unit for North America and President of the U.S. Energy Industry Segment. Prior to this, he was VP Profit Center Manager, overseeing American International Group’s Global Energy XS Casualty. Lundy is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for both World Travel Protection Canada Inc. and Adjuvantz Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Ontario.

Company Brief

Zurich Insurance is a global leader in managing risk. With more than a century of experience in North America, Zurich helps businesses understand and protect themselves from risk in a rapidly changing, interconnected world. Zurich in North America (zurichna.com) is the fourth-largest commercial property-casualty insurance company serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, specialties, and programs sectors. Zurich employs approximately 9,000 people in offices throughout North America with major centers of employment in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, New York City, Kansas City, Omaha, Baltimore, Orlando, and Toronto. Zurich is very proud of its more than 100-year history in the U.S. They have helped shape the America of today by insuring iconic infrastructure projects in New York like Madison Square Garden, and throughout the U.S., like the Hoover Dam.

Would you briefly describe Zurich’s business in Canada?

Zurich has been in Canada for over 90 years. We have offices in four provinces, but we service all Canadian provinces and territories through our regional offices. We have 800 employees in Canada and we rank among the top five writers of commercial insurance in the country and 16th against the industry overall, as measured by gross written premiums. Our market share against predominantly commercial writers is 9 percent.

Our mission is to help our customers understand and protect themselves from risk. In Canada, we’re focused on developing solutions for mid-size and large corporations, Canadian-based multinational companies, groups, and associations in specialty product niche markets.

In a market like Canada, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

There is a lot of competition in Canada, but the differentiator for us is servicing mid-market commercial and corporate enterprises with large infrastructure and multinational exposures – we have significant market share among both of these groups. We’re a dominant and well-thought-of writer of this kind of business.

In Canada, Zurich is particularly focused on the construction industry, which includes large general contractors; the retail industry; commercial real estate; manufacturing; the energy industry; the technology sector; and public sector business, which encompasses municipal infrastructure, as well as public hospitals and school systems.

In addition to working with Canadian companies with international exposures, we also serve the reverse: foreign-based companies with operations in Canada. That is another big differentiator. Zurich has operations in 170 countries so our service and our ability to collaborate in a much larger global network gives us a distinct advantage in the Canadian market.

We strive to build strong relationships with our customers. We work with customers and their brokers to raise customers’ understanding of their risks and how to mitigate them. This means drawing on a full range of global resources and knowledge to deliver solutions to the customer. It’s much more than just providing our customers with an insurance product. We want to be viewed as thought leaders in the industries we service.

How have you been able to find the talent you need in Canada?

The insurance industry in Canada is facing a serious demographic crunch. The median age in the insurance industry is over 40. Many highly tenured employees are retiring from the industry.

There is a shortage of people in the industry who have many years of institutional industry knowledge and experience. The challenge is how to get the knowledge transferred from very experienced employees to those that are new to the business or less experienced.

We’re working feverishly to close the knowledge gap by making serious investments in new employee training, as well as in providing opportunities for advanced training and promotional opportunities for our employees.

Our culture emphasizes accountability and empowerment of our people, where pay and promotion are based on outcomes and results.

How close is the coordination region to region?

Zurich Canada has a built-in multinational value proposition as part of a large global enterprise.

It is a huge differentiator to be able to provide full global solutions to our domestic customers that have multinational or international exposures.

In leading this business for Zurich, how do you focus your efforts and how critical is it to find time for client interaction?

There needs to be a balance in handling the administrative and operational nuances of running an insurance company branch, but customer interaction can’t be compromised.

On the balance side, I am the Chief Agent for Zurich in Canada, a federally regulated financial institution. This means I have responsibilities in accordance with Canadian insurance laws, as well as being a Canadian branch CEO. But I still feel the strong need to balance that with customer interaction. Our company is built on putting the customer at the center of what we do, so we need to be out in front of our customers.

We’re a relationship business first and foremost, so it behooves me to get to know our customers as closely as possible. We’re putting up significant capital to underwrite and protect them from risks. We listen to our customers and how they’re running their businesses, so we have a good understanding of what their exposures are. This allows us to help them understand and mitigate risk, and it gives us comfort in the exposures we’re willing to take on in protecting them by providing insurance.

We’re focused on delivering product sustainability and innovation to our customers by working with insurance brokers who understand and share Zurich’s business vision. This allows us to create consistent and aligned offerings.

As equally important as our customers are our people. For our business to be successful, we need our staff to be engaged and informed, so we put a lot of emphasis on our employee engagement and the communication of our strategy. We all have to believe in the strategy and be able to execute on it.

Zurich’s culture is shaped by our core values: Zurich Basics and The Zurich Commitment, and we live by these values and lead by example. I’m very proud of our people and proud of our culture, and the culture was important in attracting me back to Zurich after working for another company.•