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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2023 Spring Update – Canada

April 28, 2023

The Canadian casualty marketplace has entered into a state of growing stability on rate expectation. For property, additional capacity is driving competition and creating rate stability.
Rate predictions: Canada

Trend Range
General liability, low/moderate risks
-5% to +5%
General liability, high hazard risks
Neutral increase (yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) Flat to +10%
Automobile liability
Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +3% to +7%
Umbrella/excess liability, low/moderate risks
Neutral increase (yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) -5% to +5%
Umbrella/excess liability, high hazard risks
Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) -5% to +5%
Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +15% to +25%
Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +10%


General liability

  • 2023 continues to provide more predictability in limit deployment.
  • Insurers are showing a steady market appetite with renewed competition for new business or writing business they were once at risk for.
  • There is a reduction in submission flow at carrier desk.
  • New marketplace entrants are further driving competition, rate suppression and opportunities.
  • There is a focus on refining coverage language to clarify intent of coverage.
  • There is a limited use of brokerage manuscripts, especially on new business.
  • Insurers continue to apply restrictions for any exposures in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
  • Average claims also continue to cost more to adjudicate. Focus will remain on diligence across the entire claims process with attention on expenses

Automobile liability

  • Combined loss ratio remains < 100% but can be influenced by carrier’s U.S. book (300%).
  • Fleets with < 500 units and clean loss records can expect lower rate increases.
  • Emphasis is on fleet management, safety protocols and driver guidelines.
  • Below average risks can expect desk top risk management review.
  • There is a stable market with no market exodus and new entrants as carriers broaden their portfolios of casualty products and solutions.

Umbrella/excess liability

  • Continued use of ventilated structures
  • Increase in competition among critical burn layers
  • Use of quota share structures on excess layers as method to be competitive at lower attachment points
  • Limited increase in larger line sizes being deployed

Canadian casualty marketplace to remain complex and escalate in competition.

  • Successive years of excess marketing strategies across the hard market have led to a downswing in submission flow.
  • Limited unseen new business (new-new) to underwrite is creating significant competition around new opportunities brought to market.
  • PPositive underwriting results are pressured by the entrance of new carriers.

Changes in Canadian landscape on macroeconomic risks has underwriting approaches pivoting.

  • New presence and frequency of extreme weather events are permanently re-shaping coverage certainty and coverage availability (west coast wildfire and earthquake, east coast hurricane patterns).
  • Increases in inflation and depression on the Canadian dollar have total limit purchases being reconsidered.
  • Heightened awareness on personal rights and geo-political tensions keep stringent underwriting prevalent on risks with significant U.S. and foreign operations.

Critical factors in the U.S. are playing an indirect role on Canadian underwriting.

  • Nuclear verdicts and U.S. litigation activity acts to influence underwriting authority as cross border combined loss ratios and North American book profitability are observed.
  • Controls from U.S. and foreign ownership of carriers keep underwriting highly disciplined and referral requirements extensive.


1/1/2023 reinsurance treaty renewals are impacting the cost and capacity available for exposures in Nat Cat zones.

  • Insurers are looking to reduce capacity and/or increase deductibles in high hazard NatCat zones, flood BC quake zones in particular.
  • While NatCat capacity is garnering increased rate, the increased capacity in the market is mitigating larger double-digit increases, especially for risks with clean loss histories; clients with challenging asset profiles and those with poor loss records are seeing larger increases as insurers manage capacity deployed and charge accordingly.
  • Domestic capacity is replacing higher priced capacity out of London, hence helping to mitigate rate increases.

Inflation and valuation remain key concerns for insurers and have a direct impact on how the insurers view the quality of the risk.

  • Insurers are still looking for inflationary lift and accuracy of values via valuation; where insurers do not feel confidence in the values reported they will look to apply margin clauses (5-10%).
  • New opportunities for insurers are limited where engineering visits are required, or loss control reports and/or engineering information is not available.
  • Insurers are also focusing on accuracy of time element; as supply chain disruption still prevails following the global pandemic, insurers are focused on understanding the revenue stream and key suppliers and customers to validate business interruption and contingent business interruption. For insureds in the natural resource industry, insurers are applying business interruption volatility to manage commodity price fluctuation.

Insurer scrutiny on wordings and coverage continues

  • There is continued pressure to move from manuscript to insurer forms; where insurers agree to the manuscript form, they often require wording amendments and their own endorsements for their participation, which can create non-concurrent coverage among the insurer panel members.
  • Insurers are managing overall capacity for contingent business interruption, and further restricting coverage by looking to limit named and/or direct customers and suppliers. Capacity for unnamed customers and suppliers is being capped at low limits, if offered at all.
  • Insurers continue to exclude coverage for emerging risks through endorsements, such as for cyber, communicable disease and territorial exclusions.


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed entities, including Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada Inc. (in Canada).


Kate Mead
Carrier Management and Head of P&C Broking

Vicki Sukhu
Director – Head of Casualty Broking, Canada
email Email

Jennifer Davis
Director – Head of Property Broking, Canada
email Email

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