P&C brokers suspend partnership with Aviva Canada over direct-to-consumer strategy

By Donna Glasgow | January 25 2017 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

Stating that Aviva Canada “continues to prove that they are not a true partner to the collective broker channel,” the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) has announced that it is suspending its sponsorship partnership with the Canadian P&C insurance giant.

In the announcement released Jan. 23, the association said that Aviva will not be invited to participate in IBAO’s sponsorship Program “for the foreseeable future.” This decision follows Aviva Canada’s recent announcement that it has struck a deal with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) to market insurance products to fans.

Colin Simpson, IBAO’s CEO said, “Aviva continues to leverage the Aviva brand for broker-distributed products and direct‐to‐consumer products, with an inconsistency around product availability and pricing – a strategy the IBAO believes promotes confusion for consumers.”

Built its brand in partnership with brokers

Aviva’s direct-to-consumer approach is damaging IBAO members’ businesses, added Simpson. “Consumer awareness of the Aviva brand has been built in partnership with the broker channel over many years. The IBAO cannot continue to promote Aviva as a supporter of broker distribution in Ontario while it continues to leverage that brand against us.”

IBAO says it “received overwhelming support to take affirmative action following the latest direct‐to‐consumer offering leveraging the Aviva brand – their partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.”

Keeping an open dialogue

Though it has suspended the partnership, Simpson says IBAO will keep an open dialogue with Aviva “to resolve the issue of product availability and pricing under the Aviva brand.”

Aviva Canada expressed surprise and disappointment over the suspension. "When we notified the IBAO leadership of our new agreement with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to offer Maple Leafs insurance and Raptors insurance, their initial reaction was positive. However, it seems that after further dialogue with some of their members, this view has changed, said Jason Storah, Executive Vice President, Broker Distribution, Aviva Canada, when contacted by the Journal de l’ assurance, a sister publication of The Insurance and Investment Journal.

De-emphasizing direct

“We have been consistent in communicating our strategy to de-emphasize direct in favour of partnerships like RBC and Affinity deals like MLSE. We are having productive discussions with many brokers about how customers want to buy insurance and we are actively supporting our brokers with a range of innovative solutions to help them meet the evolving needs of their customers,” said Storah.

Aviva announced its deal with MLSE on Jan. 18. The statement said they will be launching a “team-branded and fan-focused home and auto insurance programs – the first of their kind in Canada.”

This new program promises fans “exceptional insurance coverage at a competitive price through an easy-to-use digital experience, and will provide unique engagement opportunities that connect fans with the Maple Leafs and Raptors like never before.”

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