Founded in 2002, Optisure Underwriting Services has been a wholly-owned subsidiary group of South Western Insurance Group Limited since early 2016.
As the company’s original owner – and resident Optisure expert – Glen Whitehead brought his inland marine product to South Western Insurance Group Limited because he wanted to grow and expand it. Now, virtually every broker in the country has access to this exclusively-worded insurance policy.
“Optisure has a long and proven track record in the inland marine industry,” explains Whitehead, “so we are essentially an authority in this area.” And that is saying a lot. Because highly specialized coverage like this is not easy to find in Canada.
As Whitehead describes it, “There are only a very small group of insurance carriers that are able to do what we do. At the same time, I cannot over-emphasize how broad and comprehensive our particular policy is. The exclusive, all-risks wording was written and designed to stack up against any policy in the country. And because it is not subject to a minimum premium, it represents an enormous opportunity for our brokers.”
The Optisure program addresses all facets of inland marine coverage, across such industries as:
- Logging and Forestry,
- Oil and Gas,
- Road Construction,
- Mining, and
- Dirt and Earth Moving
According to Whitehead, it is basically a physical damage contractors’ equipment insurance policy that protects company machinery whether it is working out in the remote bush, or sitting in a mill yard. If a client owns even one machine, he says, they need to insure that equipment while it is sitting in their yard, while it is being transported, and – most importantly – while it is being operated at various job sites.
“Theft, vandalism, upsets, roll-overs, damage that occurs while loading and unloading – even the clipping of a bridge during transport. Basic protection involves any number of things, but the primary risk exposure is going to be while that machine is working.”
The company regularly writes schedules as small as one or two items, but can go all the way up to $40 or $50 million dollars. And as a market-leading contractor program that spans a wide scope of industries, any “yellow iron” holdings out there will potentially benefit from Optisure’s coverage.
“It is a very broad appetite that we service,” explains Whitehead, “and as far as extensions go, we have the ability to underwrite everything from downed timber and motor truck cargo, to hook & lift & hoist liability.”
While coverage can include both contractors’ equipment and automobile physical damage for the likes of log trucks, log trailers, and low-bed tractors, it does not end there, according to Whitehead. “We can also include specialized elements like exposure to ice and muskeg for contractors that work in remote northern regions, and waterborne coverage for contractors that go over large bodies of water – in coastal BC for example.”
The Optisure program embodies a vast level of underwriting knowledge inside an exceptionally unique insurance class. It also combines extremely competitive rates with the availability of very high in-house limits. And as Whitehead is quick to point out, “There is basically no risk that is too big or too small. We handle anything and everything – including the ability to consider risks with multiple claims.”