In this interview, Paul explains the surety team’s processes and operations in Canada and his current outlook for the surety industry in 2021. He also describes why Allianz Trade should be the surety partner of choice in Canada. Read on to get to know Paul’s perspective.
Q: Tell us about your responsibilities as Head of Surety for Allianz Trade in Canada.
Paul: My role as Head of Surety in Canada means I am involved in all aspects of the services we provide. I am responsible for maintaining existing accounts across Canada, and developing new business through our broker partners. I meet with our brokers and clients on a regular basis to understand their surety needs and review past financial results in order to gain insight into their businesses direction and ensure that we provide surety support that will meet their needs.
Q: Describe the Allianz Trade Surety operations in Canada.
Paul: I manage the Surety portfolio for Allianz Trade here in Canada along with John Stewart, our Senior underwriter in Canada. The Allianz Trade Surety operations in Canada not only includes myself and John, but also with the full assistance of our Surety operations team in the U.S. and access to all Allianz Trade resources.
Q: What were some of the challenges the team faced during 2020?
Paul: Underwriting in the uncertain economic environment brought about by the worldwide pandemic was the biggest challenge we faced in 2020. Surety is very much an interactive product between Surety, Broker, and client, and as a result of limited travel those interactions were restricted.
While we were able to innovate in certain areas for our clients, like introducing tools, and we have maintained our connection with brokers via phone and digital communications, there is no substitute for in-person meetings. When it is safe to do so, I’m eager to get back to face to face meetings and interact with brokers and customers again.
Q: What is your outlook for 2021?
Paul: As we emerge from the lockdown brought on by the pandemic, my outlook is cautious. For the most part, construction was considered essential here in Canada, but many projects incurred significant cost increases as scheduled were delayed. Governments have taken on unprecedented debt throughout the pandemic and government infrastructure spending going forward is not clear.
Q: Why should Allianz Trade Surety be the organization of choice for brokers in Canada?
Paul: Allianz Trade Surety in Canada has a strong, experienced team with unequaled international presence. Allianz Trade can service both the commercial and contract Surety marketplace. With our AA rated paper and the ability to offer significant capacity into the marketplace, Allianz Trade is a natural choice for brokers and their clients.