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Canadian D&O market flooded with capacity


Existing and new insurers, particularly foreign insurers, have flooded the Canadian directors and officers insurance market with additional capacity, negating a growing exposure to secondary market liability, insurance experts say.

"Foreign insurers don't seem to be scared off by (Ontario's) Bill 198 and the implications of that," said Phil Baker, vp, financial and professional services for Canada for Travelers Cos. Inc. in Toronto.

Foreign insurers have been attracted by what they view as a lower risk profile for Canadian risks, said Andrew Brown, an associate in the management risk practice of Integro (Canada) Ltd. in Toronto.

Insurers such as Hamilton, Bermuda-based XL Capital Ltd., which has been in the Canadian market for many years, as well as Lloyd's of London syndicates, which have been supporting managing general agents, have expanded D&O capacity in Canada, he said. In addition, Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Group's executive liability division last year opened a branch in Toronto to offer D&O, fiduciary liability and employment practices liability insurance.

Even Canadian companies with U.S. exposures are able to access sufficient limits, although they pay higher premiums than strictly Canadian risks because of the increased risk of litigation in the United States, insurance experts say.

ACE Canada, a unit of ACE Ltd., is reducing limits specifically on its U.S.-traded business, but that is the exception rather than the rule, Mr. Brown said.

A spokeswoman for the Toronto-based insurer declined comment.