This article originally appeared in Insurance Business Canada Specialty Insurance Guide Feature 9.05.
Great products and great solutions have always been foundational at Arch Insurance, but in the Canadian market, to borrow a hockey metaphor, the company is looking to “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is,” says Jean-Pierre Galipeault, chief regional officer in Canada.
“Our industry hasn’t focused as much on customer experience the way other industries have, and that’s where we want to do things differently in the space,” Galipeault says, adding that the term ‘customer’ refers to a diverse array of stakeholders and not just the insured. “In Canada, we believe there’s an opportunity to do specialty insurance a bit differently.”
In an industry once based largely on scarcity — scarcity of capital, talent and distribution — there are now more competitors, more knowledge and more similarity in products. But terrific experiences and real, trust-based relationships are still scarce, Galipeault says, and that scarcity highlights an opportunity for Arch to deliver a superior experience for brokers and clients.
Arch could spend six months developing an incredibly unique offering with great wording and amazing coverage, he explains, only to have a competitor replicate it shortly thereafter. But Arch believes in a broader definition of an insurance product — one that includes everything from the claims experience to the experience an insured has when working with a broker to solve a problem. Insurance is no longer just about coverage, terms and conditions and pricing. Customers should expect a certain experience as well.
“We’re still focused on creative solutions and excellent products — that’s a pillar of the business — but they can be replicated,” Galipeault says. “Our expertise and capacity, as well as the experience we provide our customer, are what will set us apart.”
In 2020, Arch created The Arch Experience: 14 behaviours built around the company’s five defining values and practiced globally by all employees. Arch also recently launched a brand promise — Pursuing Better Together — that’s ultimately meant to crystallize those behaviours and use them to deliver an exceptional experience for the customer. Galipeault refers to this major corporate cultural initiative as “the secret sauce,” adding that the exceptional experience Arch provides to specialty lines customers can be distilled into three facets.
Customers expect their insurance companies to find ways to be the solution, and Arch invests in expertise accordingly in order to deliver those high-quality solutions to the marketplace.
One of the tenets of The Arch Experience is commitment to open-mindedness and embracing new approaches, whether through personal or professional growth. When that’s combined with existing knowledge, “we creatively drive innovation and provide better service and solutions for our customers and brokers,” Galipeault says.
“Our industry hasn’t focused as much on customer experience the way other industries have, and that’s where we want to do things differently in the space.”Jean-Pierre Galipeault, Arch Insurance Canada
Customers also expect solutions that include tailored policy coverage that fits their complex needs, as well as exceptional claim service. Ultimately, things like urgency, responsiveness, speed, flexibility and creativity are key to remaining agile.
“One of the overarching company behaviours we exhibit is being passionate about the voice of the customer,” Galipeault says. “[We] listen to the market, listen to customers and brokers and get a sense of what their evolving or unmet needs are so we can anticipate opportunities and be proactive.”
For the team at Arch, agility means stepping outside their comfort zone and challenging themselves to meet the demands of the marketplace and their key partners.
“Sometimes that means we need to be bold in our decision-making and approach,” Galipeault says. “We need the courage to think big and set high goals for ourselves, which fits in with moving beyond the idea of a rigid insurer who only sees in black and white. How can we be flexible enough to bring a great solution that works for everyone?”
“We need the courage to think big and set high goals for ourselves, which fits in with moving beyond the idea of a rigid insurer who only sees in black and white. How can we be flexible enough to bring a great solution that works for everyone?”Jean-Pierre Galipeault, Arch Insurance Canada
3. Trusted Relationships
Trust is a cornerstone of any good relationship, but it’s also one of those common phrases that needs to be unpacked. What does it mean to have a truly trusted relationship? It’s not just knowing a customer’s name and having their contact information – it goes beyond that to include responsiveness, empathy, consistency, integrity and transparency, Galipeault says.
“We’re being more mindful and reflective of what the industry is asking for and how to deliver on that,” he says, adding that this includes engaging in difficult conversations head-on. “I tell my people if it’s going to be a no to a broker, let’s get to no quickly. Having a difficult conversation with a good partner is never easy, but we want to have clear expectations, and we want to be good communicators, as simple as that sounds.”
These three facets are underpinned by The Arch Experience and by Arch’s vision — and goal — of “being the first call.” What Galipeault loves about aiming to be the first point of contact for a broker, customer or potential employee is that it automatically puts that valued partner front and centre.
Ultimately, Arch views the world of insurance differently and, in particular, approaches specialty lines very differently. It’s not about one big change, but many smaller ones that fit together in the company’s revamped philosophy. Arch’s brand promise evokes the same dynamic as being the first call: continuously looking to do things differently and better, and working closely with trusted partners, including key brokers, clients, vendors, regulators, investors and employees. The genesis of pursuing some-thing better together, Galipeault explains, is working with all stakeholders, not just one particular audience.
“Sometimes it’s important to really commit — and we’re not hedging here,” he says. “Pursuing better together is, first and foremost, a promise we’re making to ourselves to always strive to improve from one day to the next and to do so collaboratively. The way to providing a superior experience is to first make that commitment internally.”
Gale Lockbaum, President and COO
How does Arch support brokers?
In the current market conditions, we recognize that service and trust are key. Candidly, the hard market has been an opportunity for our team to shine, and they have demonstrated an ability to be responsive, engaged and transparent with our broker partners. At Arch, we practice what we call “voice of the customer,” which is another way of saying always listen to what your brokers’ and clients’ unmet needs are and ask how Arch can meet those needs.
We support our brokers by delivering best-in-class service in tandem with our specialty insurance solutions; to do both in the midst of a hard market highlights how we bring value to our broker partners.
Do you have anything interesting in the pipeline?
We are introducing a mid-market package product that brings Arch’s specialty lines strength, including our experienced underwriting team, deep product knowledge and industry expertise, to the middle-market package space. As a specialty lines carrier, we are uniquely positioned to quickly address underserved market segments and unmet needs of our broker partners. The target client for this product is an upper middle-market customer with more complex operations that can be difficult to place for brokers.
Is there an achievement you’re most proud of?
I am most proud of how the Arch Canada team has supported each other and our customers through this period of great uncertainty and change. The emphasis internally on Arch values and our commitment to recognizing and celebrating the related behaviours has provided a solid framework for continuing our goal of “being the first call,” and the team continues to embrace these values to provide an exceptional customer experience.
Paul Mittertreiner, Business Development Manager
Paul Mittertreiner is a passionate insurance professional with 38 years in the industry. He has a wide range of experience in both underwriting and marketing roles, delivering on both financial and non-financial goals. He distinguishes himself from others through his dedication to establishing and maintaining trusted broker relationships across Canada.
A consummate ‘people person,’ Mittertreiner combines his passion for building relationships with his technical knowledge accrued over nearly four decades in insurance to drive results. If you don’t know him, chances are someone you know does.
When he joined Arch in 2014, Mittertreiner brought past experiences from FM Global and Aviva, where he had responsibility for underwriting and marketing.
Since joining Arch, he has been instrumental in re-energizing the company’s broker outreach and marketing activities. His accomplishments include expanding Arch’s new broker network and spearheading growth opportunities within existing lines, and he’s also taken on a key mentorship role for Arch’s young underwriters. In addition, Mittertreiner is the lead on Arch’s community initiatives, including organizing volunteering opportunities for Arch’s employees across the GTA.
“At Arch, we build trusting, respectful and responsive working relationships,” Mittertreiner says. “We focus on our customers’ success and collaborate with them to provide informed solutions that reflect our commitment to pursuing better together.”