Backed by the expertise of its team, some of whom have been in the industry dating back to the origins of the Surety Association of Canada (SAC) 25 years ago, Trisura has grown to become one of Canada’s leading specialty lines insurance companies with a core focus in surety writing.
As the construction industry has grown in complexity, regulations and legislation have changed, making contracts more complex. Amid all the change, Trisura has focused on creating an exceptional stakeholder experience that includes expertise drawn from across the country.
Chris Kucman, vice-president surety, says the surety product hasn’t changed much over time, until about the past five years, which marks somewhat of a milestone for the change that has taken place since. “Where once a project could be set with a handshake and a napkin contract, today there are binders of documents that make up a contract. The process of construction, and the disputes that can arise, are so complex, the surety is often called in to assist with the matters.”
As the industry has evolved, Kucman says SAC has also evolved, working to ensure sureties are aligned with stakeholder needs, and helping stakeholders understand what a bond is and what it can do. He says that over the past five years, the association has worked hard to educate and provide new bond forms to better serve contractors and owners. These have ranged from performance bonds geared specifically for general contractors, to enhanced bond forms that specify options for a surety’s involvement before a full blown default and claim is made.
He says that although the industry’s knowledge of risk and prevention has grown, the complexity of contracts and the impact to bonding is the same. At Trisura, the focus has been education on minimizing risk, but also getting it right in terms of claims handling. “We have a dedicated, well rounded claims team that is committed to handling claims responsibly and responsively. Along with the support of our claims team, our underwriters are committed to helping our surety clients through feedback on anything that can affect the results of their business, which could be financial, contractual or other risk related issues.
One of the biggest and most anticipated changes to impact the industry is surely legislation to replace Ontario’s current Construction Lien Act, which is set for further readings in the legislature this fall. Kucman says the new Construction Act will be a game changer for many reasons which most people are likely aware. One directly related to surety is the process of adjudication. Providing binding adjudication during a project will hopefully allow the surety to respond to claims in dispute more definitively.
Trisura has also adopted several internal programs designed to ensure a more efficient client experience. An online contractors’ bond program, launched in 2015, features a streamlined bond application making them simpler for occasional users with smaller bond requirements by scaling back to focus on less stringent criteria.
The forward-thinking company has also just recently launched its own e-bonding platform for its clients. Kucman says, “Given how rapidly change now happens, electronic procurement of tenders will become the mainstream method of procurement before we know it.”
As it has in the past, he says Trisura will be watching and prepared to respond with innovative, flexible and creative solutions. “Our focus is on meeting the best interests of the industry and on finding better ways of doing things that will satisfy the demands of the industry, and meet our clients’ challenges.”
As the industry heads into its next 25 years, Kucman says there is no way to predict what will happen, even in the next few years, based on how quickly things are changing. “One thing is certain though, those who are not able to adapt, who do not stay current, will be left behind.”
For more information about Trisura, visit http://www.trisura.com.