Portrait of Dan Thornton

My first year as Chair of the Assuris Board of Directors is now complete. This year was focused on implementing the strategic direction for the organization to fulfill our mission of ensuring policyholder protection. To that end, Assuris worked with the industry and agreed to double its liquidity fund to $200 million, to meet the immediate financial needs if a life insurance company fails. Assuris also continued to advocate for improvements to the resolution system for life insurers in Canada for the protection of the policyholders and in the interests of the industry as a whole. Our position remains firm – The industry, through Assuris, should retain control of resolution for life insurance companies. This approach will help minimize costs and ensure the industry’s reputation is upheld.

In the coming year, Assuris will continue to work towards strengthening the system for resolution through effective legislation and guidance, to ensure the resolvability and resolution of all life insurance companies operating in Canada. Our focus will be on improving resolvability, and clarifying and enhancing the current process for solvent resolution. We believe that understanding and improving a company’s resolvability concerns will ensure a more stable, effective and timely resolution process. It will help reduce the costs of resolution and ultimately minimize potential losses to policyholders. It will also mitigate the negative impact on the insurance industry and maintain confidence and stability in the system.

Solvent resolution may provide a better outcome for stakeholders than a traditional insolvency. A solvent resolution process considers options for stabilizing and restructuring a company, to restore the viability of the business if its own recovery measures are unsuccessful. A solvent resolution may be less disruptive and less costly to the industry.

Assuris will continue following the developments of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) towards resolution of life insurers. Canada must continue to have a robust resolution system for life insurance companies that meets the recommendations for best practices.

Assuris is a strong organization and many people have contributed to our success. Thinking back on my first year as chair and in anticipation of the next year, it emphasizes, for me, how fortunate I am to be working with such a strong and capable board and management.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Doug Hogeboom, past Chair of the Board, for his support during this transition year. He handed over a strong Board that is diligent and skilled in ensuring the success of the organization. I want to also express my thanks to the Honourable James Farley and Greg Traversy, who completed their terms in 2017, for their significant contributions to the Assuris Board over the past nine years. I also welcome our new directors Dr. Janis Sarra and Mark Zelmer.

Finally, I want to thank our member companies for their ongoing support. In particular, I want to thank the senior industry executives who volunteer on our Industry Advisory Committee. Their expertise and insight on industry issues is invaluable.

Signature of Dan Thornton

Dan Thornton
Chair of the Board of Directors

Assuris will continue to work towards strengthening the system for resolution through effective legislation and guidance, to ensure the resolvability and resolution of all life insurance companies operating in Canada.