STAFF WRITER – The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature
Statistics Canada reports that nearly 99 per cent of Canadian construction companies have less than 100 employees and more than 60 per cent have fewer than five employees. Despite the importance of smaller contractors and the limited bond user segments to Canada’s construction economy, the surety market is underserved and in need of a unique approach. In fact, small contractors represent a robust entrepreneurial force that’s driving infrastructure, enhancing local businesses, and contributing to the value of gross domestic product.
“Accounts with limited surety needs aren’t the same as traditional surety accounts, therefore, they should not be underwritten the same way,” said Matt Baynton, vice president, surety (national). “Trisura has recently launched a program built upon the recognition that all corners of the surety market require service in equal measure.”
Baynton said the new program focuses on what’s important. “There is a clear goal to attain. For example, balance between the personal finances of the shareholder with the corporate finances of the construction company is paramount. Metrics such as length of time in business, overall profitability, debt loads, credit scores, and the difference between corporate and personal net worth are considered essential factors in attaining balance.”
Brokers understand that the time compared with the benefit to setting up a small contractor surety facility is challenging. “A streamlined approach is required. This is what we are offering,” Baynton said. “The expectation is that the process remains consistent, fast, and decisive. This allows for efficient and convenient management of the broker’s small account portfolio.”
Trisura hopes to introduce an online tool for issuing small bonds in the near future, Baynton said. “We want to continuously push the envelope in providing better and more efficient service to our brokers and their clients. We want to be on the leading edge of innovation in driving the surety industry forward, ensuring that surety bonds remain a relevant product for decades to come.”