Together to create the insurance of tomorrow
The year in review
Fiscal 2019 was a stand-out year for Humania Assurance that bodes well for our future. True to our mission of Making insurance accessible, the Company completed several major projects specifically related to our strategic plan, while meeting net earnings expectations.
Throughout fiscal 2019, several key actions marked the deployment of our strategy.
Acquiring the assets of Tour+Med in July 2019, an insurance marketing and administration specialist, allowed us to vertically integrate a high-potential line of business for which Humania was the insurer since July 2008. With this transaction and given the expertise of both companies, we can optimize the use of our respective cross-Canada distribution networks, increase the quality of our baby boomer market offering and capitalize on the promising group travel insurance business.
Tour+Med offers comprehensive travel insurance to both individuals and groups and is well-known for its expertise in Canada’s market for long-term travel to the southern United States, particularly for snowbirds. The travel insurance industry offers high growth potential driven by demographics and snowbirds consumption patterns.
The sale of Aurrea Signature underscores the achievement of an important milestone in the accelerated expansion of our distribution footprint across Canada. Following this highly strategic transaction, we are now a minority shareholder in one of Canada’s largest multidisciplinary distribution firms with an exceptional track record for growth and goal achievement.
This transaction gives us a solid foothold in independent brokerage distribution across all Canadian provinces.
Overall, the financial results for fiscal 2019 were satisfactory. Despite lower gross premiums in group insurance and accelerated investments under IFRS, in product digitization and process and system modernization, Humania generated higher-than-expected after-tax earnings, up 65% over 2018 to total $4.6 million. We also ended the year with a CARLI ratio well within the industry average of 139%.
To date, two-thirds of new individual insurance applications were received online, representing 10% growth over 2018, of which over 79% were issued automatically through our decision-making algorithms. Only complex files requiring specialized expertise are reviewed by our underwriters, resulting in significant efficiency gains in risk underwriting.
Web-based products such as IWME and HuGO continue to perform well, maintaining high levels of new written premiums. During the fiscal year, we rolled out some product enhancements and pricing changes. For instance, with our highly digital approach, we can make fast and agile changes, to maintain the level of competitiveness the distribution network requires, within very short timeframes.
Our 5575.ca cancer insurance product launched in November 2018, to which we added hospitalization insurance and expense reimbursement coverage in 2019, has been well received by the brokerage network. We are clearly targeting the 55 to 75 age group market, a very promising and growing market underserved by the competition. This strategy is also very well aligned with our acquisition of Tour+Med, considering its strong expertise and large client base in this same market.
For now, applications for our PAIRE and ASSURE-DEBT health insurance products are processed conventionally until they are shifted to a digital platform over the next 18 months. We will then expand this product line’s distribution capacity to the entire Canadian market.
Of all our lines of business, only group insurance underperformed. In light of a market that we consider underpriced, we opted for a conservative approach which resulted in declines in both new sales and renewals. This business segment has always been more volatile than individual insurance and its performance mainly explains the slight dip in overall premiums in 2019.
With a view to differentiation, Humania continued to innovate by launching the “Compassionate Care Leave” guarantee in November 2019.
This unique coverage, included in our group long-term disability insurance contracts, ensures the financial security of insured employees and enables them to provide care to a seriously ill spouse or child without putting their own physical and financial health at risk. This innovative protection:
- Reduces the risk of long-term disability, including absenteeism, which affects some caregivers;
- Prevents occupational burnout and the associated costs to the individual, the company and society;
- Sets employers apart and enhances their brand.
We launched Lead2action in January 2019, offering innovative solutions to business partners looking to add life and health insurance to their cross-selling strategy.
As a programmatic technology specialist for the life and health insurance industry, Lead2action offers a new, fully customizable approach to promote insurance products to targeted client groups and intelligently strengthens client loyalty.
Focused on the values of choice, guidance and transparency, the firm offers the products of over ten insurers across Canada using digital technology, together with the services of a duly authorized financial security advisor, available at all times, to advise, guide and support clients through each transaction.
Independent advisor training
The independent brokerage network is important to Humania Assurance. Throughout the fiscal year, the Company deployed several strategies to support advisors in the digital shift and increasing their productivity. We offered an impressive number of 400 classroom and webinar training sessions across Canada, reaching more than 7,000 participants and allowing them to accumulate continuing education credits.
We continued to roll out our human resources strategy. Collective Intelligence initiatives and programs were deployed throughout 2019 to ensure the wellbeing, health and happiness of the Company’s employees.
Engaging our employees: the key to our success
Following the launch of the Company’s renewed values, we set up a network of ambassadors representing the different departments and roles. Led by Human Resources, the new committee aims to involve employees and managers in implementing initiatives to build buy-in for the changes around our new mission and values as we continue our digital transformation. These ambassadors are also key players in embracing and demonstrating our values, which are instrumental in achieving our mission.
Employee health and wellness awards and recognition
For Humania Assurance, providing a healthy and stimulating work environment for our employees is essential to the development of their potential and to the Company’s success. Our efforts in implementing initiatives, professional development and programs for our employees and managers have been recognized by various awards, including our ranking as one of the top small and medium employers in the 2019 Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition, a prestigious national competition that annually recognizes employers with the best workplaces; the Healthy Enterprises Group’s top Distinction Award in the lifestyle and stress management category; renewal of our “Healthy Enterprise” certification awarded by the Bureau de normalisation du Québec for the third consecutive year; and our selection as one of the finalists of the 2019 Mercuriades competition in the “Successful Business Strategies” category. We are very proud that these honours demonstrate we consider employee health and wellbeing to be an integral part of our growth.
I would like to warmly congratulate all our “collaborators”, namely our employees, who are the driving force behind our success. Every day, they embody Humania’s values and contribute year after year to modernizing and making ever more accessible life and health insurance in Canada.
I would also like to thank the members of the Board of Directors and management who, through their devotion and commitment, contribute to the Company’s success.
In light of all the above, we end this year with great satisfaction and look to the future with confidence and optimism.