In a Global Business Environment, Multinational Coverage is Key

By John Sterns | Published October 22, 2020

Today’s business world operates on an international scale. Consumers no longer rely solely on locally produced goods and services, and companies continue to expand operations worldwide for increased efficiency or access to new markets and supplies.


As a result of this globalization, companies and customers are affected like never before by events outside their borders, such as the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” from the European Union. Technological advancements, the deepening effects of climate change and the potential for global pandemics like COVID-19 present additional cross-border challenges of monumental proportions. The COVID-19 pandemic alone has drama­­tically affected daily life and business operations in every country, throwing the global economy into distress, closing international borders, and triggering a worldwide shift in how work is done and products are sold.


Amid these major shifts, organizations are realizing the value of broad, robust international insurance policies that provide meaningful coverage for their business and their employees, no matter where in the world they may be located.


Global Placements


In this complex, shifting global business environment, Canadian companies with international footprints should not rely on domestic insurance coverage alone. Even the most comprehensive Canadian domestic insurance policy can fall short if your business suffers a claim in a foreign country, and ongoing political strife and other exposures can result in serious threats to your employees – and your bottom line.


Thankfully, international insurance solutions have been created to address these issues. Through these tailored global insurance programs, Canadian-domiciled companies with international operations can secure admitted insurance coverage and claims support in many foreign countries, all via a Canada-based underwriter and broker.


Brokers who have expanded their international footprints may have access to options for placing coverage around the world; however, many brokers do not have this capability. Brokers and Insurers that can arrange a global program will have better control over determining the details of the client’s global coverage. Often, foreign branch solutions can cause issues if local underwriters feel the risk warrants different deductibles, rates, or terms and conditions from those determined by the domestic underwriter.


Was It Worth It?


Some insureds are tempted to opt against local admitted coverage in order to save money. However, while it may cost more to secure a global policy, the cost savings such a policy can provide once a claim is filed will normally make up for any difference in premium. And if you have a claim in a country where admitted insurance is required, would the initial cost savings be worth a longer wait to get back in business or fines/penalties for non-admitted insurance?


Another consideration: catastrophes such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur frequently – and depending where your company does business around the world, you may not be able to get coverage right before a natural disaster happens. A global underwriter will be able to address these issues in advance.


The Human Factor


Your employees are one of your most important assets, and protecting them while in another country is vitally important. Many organizations need assistance in managing their “people risk.” Insurance companies offer various plans to protect employees while travelling providing emergency medical, personal, legal and travel assistance. Depending on where your employees travel, kidnap and ransom coverage may also be necessary.


As technology creates new connections around the global, the risk of cybercrime continues to increase. The majority of these crimes exploit human habits and weaknesses, and cyber criminals are not located just in Canada. It is important to have global coverage that protects all your electronic devices when outside the country. 


Risk Control and Claims


Your company’s exposures outside of Canada are as important as those within our borders – and understanding them is vitally important. International claims and risk control expertise are crucial for organizations with international exposures. With access to certified risk control professionals, risk-mitigation programs and online resources, an insurance company can help protect against exposures that could disrupt operations.


In a dynamic world that’s more connected than ever, don’t let your insurance coverage end in Canada. As companies increasingly seek success outside their nation’s borders, an international insurance solution can help manage the complex, expanding global property and casualty risks.

In Canada, products and/or services described are provided by Continental Casualty Company, a CNA property/casualty insurance company. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.

John Sterns
Vice President, Casualty

John is responsible for leading the Casualty and International business for CNA Canada’s Underwriting Department and is charged with aligning branch structure with CNA’s strategy to drive profitable growth. He joined CNA Canada on May 1, 2017, as VP Casualty after a brief stint at retirement.  John has extensive knowledge in risk management and international casualty programs.


John has more than 37 years of experience in the insurance business and 30 years underwriting Casualty. Prior to joining CNA,  John held senior positions with AIG, Home  and Chubb.


John holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (Geography) from the University of Waterloo.


John is also an active member and director for Erin Mills Church campus and Three Lakes Cottage Association.