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Exclusive Interview with Fred Shurbaji – Head of SME Commercial Insurance at Aviva Canada

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Aviva CanadaFred Shurbaji – Head of SME Commercial Insurance at Aviva Canada

Senior insurance executive with 35 years’ global insurance experience spanning the U.A.E, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. Broad background in property and casualty underwriting. The proven track record for driving profit and growth through product differentiation and a niche approach. Expert in the development and implementation of regional strategies with direct responsibility for managing the underwriting operations and products’ mix across ten countries in Europe and for a syndicate at Lloyd’s.


As Head of SME Commercial Insurance, you were heavily involved in the launch of Onpoint, an innovative insurance product specific to small business owners. What can you tell us about this product and how it can benefit SME owners?

In late 2018, we launched Aviva Onpoint, our insurance offering that specifically targets segments in business and professional services, contracting, and retail with revenue up to $5 million. Onpoint is tailor-made for small businesses, offering relevant and specific insurance coverage for broker clients at an affordable price point.


What are some of the programs and services that Aviva offers to business owners that can help them in the successful management of their business?

One of the great things about Onpoint is that it provides the right property and liability coverage based on the client’s primary operation, with the option to add additional coverage if required, such as business income, equipment breakdown, crime, and more. Up to two secondary operations can also be added, all under a single, easy-to-understand property and casualty policy, offering clarity and simplicity for business owners.


When it comes to finding the right insurance plan for a business, there are several factors that entrepreneurs should take into consideration. What would you say are the top three aspects that entrepreneurs should consider when choosing the right insurance plan for their business?

We would recommend that entrepreneurs should ensure that their insurance product includes:

• Coverage that is suited to their business

• Protection that is tailored to their specific industry

• Flexible options so they can adjust coverage amounts and deductibles

In your expert opinion, what is the most challenging thing that entrepreneurs face when it comes to the success of their business and how can Aviva help them overcome these challenges?

Entrepreneurs face challenges every day to run their company and we strive to not add insurance to that list. Businesses should be able to purchase coverage suited to their specific needs with the peace of mind that, if a claim should arise, they have the proper protection to get them back to operating as usual.


What sets Aviva apart from other insurance providers? What gives them a competitive edge?

Aviva offers tailored insurance solutions to fit our customer’s needs, regardless of the size of their operation. We launched Aviva Enterprise in 2018, which streamlines the products we offered to the different businesses we insure and allows for customization so every policy is uniquely suited to the business we’re covering. Then, in late 2018, we launched Aviva Onpoint to service smaller organizations that may not need the customization provided by our regular offerings. At Aviva, we’re focused on ensuring that we offer our customers choices to suit their business needs


Prior to joining Aviva, you spend almost three decades at Chubb. How would you say your previous experience has helped you in your current role as Head of SME Commercial Insurance at Aviva Canada?

Throughout my career, I’ve worked in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Paris, and London. This broad experience, coupled with the exposure to global businesses, allows me to build upon Aviva’s strengths while expanding our current capabilities. We’re currently working on strengthening Aviva’s Middle-Market proposition by providing value-added services and multinational capabilities for larger Canadian companies.


Canada’s SME business industry is constantly evolving with new and innovative developments. How is Aviva shaping its insurance business plans to accommodate the constant evolution of Canadian SMEs?  

The overwhelming majority of businesses in Canada are small and medium enterprises, and they need insurance coverage to meet their unique needs. As their businesses grow and evolve over time, so should their insurance. That’s why we’ve made a concerted effort to improve our products and differentiate the different types of businesses and industries to make them relevant and helpful to the customer, irrespective of their size.


On a final note, what does the future of Aviva look like? What can you tell us about any upcoming projects or initiatives?

Aviva continues to keep our customers and their needs at the forefront of everything we do. Not all small and medium-sized businesses have the same needs from their insurance company and we’re creating products to suit all types and sizes of companies.

In 2020, we’ll be continuing to refine our existing products as changing needs emerge We also launched a Middle Market pilot earlier in 2019 that offers insurance solutions to larger companies with nuanced operations that we plan on expanding early 2020.

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