June 7, 2023

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Doing Good to Drive Growth: How one insurance company prioritizes purpose over profit

A storied history

First founded in 1903 as an automobile association, the organization’s core mission is to help Canadians stay safe, mobile and protected. From advocating for and installing road signs across Ontario, to being the first to offer roadside assistance in the 1920s, the impact on communities was clear from the outset. 

Fast forward 50 years, after successfully lobbying for mandatory drivers’ licences, establishing the CAA School Safety Patrol and starting the movement to require seat belts, the growing organization established its own insurance company. It issued its first automobile insurance policy in 1974. Home insurance coverage was added almost a decade later and CAA Insurance Company was officially established.

“Thanks to our storied history, for CAA, establishing an insurance company was never rooted in the pursuit of profits,” said Matthew Turack, group president, insurance, CCG. “Our purpose has always linked back to the core mission of keeping people safe, mobile and protected. It was important that CAA Members had the protection they needed if they had a collision or needed to make a claim, and that remains true to this day.”

Purpose-led work

Over the years, this guiding mission presented new opportunities to create products and services that would help Members move safely. In 2012, Orion Travel Insurance Company was established to underwrite insurance that provided adequate and responsible coverage for travellers. Most recently, CCG purchased Echelon, a leading specialty insurer, to make sure that business partners and drivers with unique insurance needs, had access to affordable insurance coverage.

“Every business decision that we make at CAA Club Group is based on what is best for the consumer,” added Turack. “Being customer and Member-focused has allowed us to develop products and services that deliver on the needs of the people we serve. In our experience, making decisions for the right reasons is what has driven our sustained growth and profitability.”

Associates make a difference every day

For over a century, CCG Associates have been empowered to make a difference every day. It is no surprise that the company was recently named Top Insurance Employer, as voted through a survey conducted by Insurance Business Canada.

One of the key priorities that has helped CCG become a top employer, is that the health and wellness of Associates comes first. The organization has a holistic wellness program, dedicated to making it easier to live healthy, fulfilling lives at work and at home. Creating a healthy, respectful and safe workspace where people can thrive, is an important factor when it comes to the growth and prosperity of the company.

Cultivating a growth mindset is equally important. Success at CCG is based on performance and the embodiment of its corporate values: collaboration, innovation, being care-driven and leading by example. Lifelong learning is encouraged through programs and educational support to empower everyone to reach their full potential.​

The final piece that underpins the success of the organization is that diversity, equity and belonging is core to decision-making. As a Member and customer-driven organization, it is important that the communities served are reflected in CCG’s Associate base, and that everyone feels welcomed and accepted to do their best work.

Innovation and growth

Turack believes that the modernization of insurance in Ontario starts by considering the lifestyle of consumers and responding to their needs. It’s also critically important that affordability be at the centre of any new initiative. That’s why in 2018, CAA Insurance launched Canada’s first user-based and pay-as-you-go insurance program called CAA MyPace. Business modelling predicted that people who drive less get into less collisions and thereby should pay less for insurance.

Traditionally, insurance companies create a product and figure out the math, the profit margin, the rating structure and then figure out how to sell it to customers and convince them it was right for them. With CAA MyPace, CAA Insurance took the opposite approach. They put the customers wants and desires first, did studies and focus groups, and then came up with the financial model.  It is this type of forward thinking that makes CCG an exciting place to work.

As one of Canada’s most trusted brands, CCG leaders are confident that prioritizing Associate wellness coupled with continued innovation will lead to sustained success for the years to come.

Prioritizing ways to give back

While CCG has always been dedicated to serving the community, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented new opportunities to make sure that the company was doing everything it could to provide meaningful relief to people.

CCG’s CEO clearly communicated that the organization would do everything in its power to weather the storm and ensure job security for Associates, a promise that was kept thanks for a series of strategic business decisions.

CAA Insurance also provided over $130 million in relief to policyholders, which was identified by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario as the highest percentage of rate relief in the industry.

It is an exciting time for CAA Club Group and CAA Insurance. With ample opportunity to contribute to the greater good, Associates continue to help the organization evolve in the interest of consumers, as leaders work to strengthen its position as a top insurance employer.