Celebrating 140 Years
2012 marked the 140th anniversary of The Guarantee. When it was founded in 1872, the directors of the Company believed that the best way to build a successful business was through product specialization and financial strength. After 140 years, the Company still conducts its business based on these same core principles.
Alister Campbell - Chief Executive Officer
For 140 years, The Guarantee has prospered because we always think about the customer first. We identify a need. We design a solution. We make a promise... and then we honour it.
Today, our Mission is to be the very best company to work for among professional, specialist underwriters with a passion to truly understand target customer needs. Our people have an innate desire to partner with the very best brokers and together, craft and deliver compelling insurance, surety and risk management solutions for those customers.
In today’s changing world, more than ever, brokers and customers are looking for partners and suppliers they can rely on. We built our company and our brand being just that. We are proud of our past and proud of the brand we now represent. But we never take the future for granted because of that proud past. In our business, more than most, relationships and trust are built one transaction at a time. So every new business opportunity and every service interaction represents another test we know we must pass.
The employees of today’s Guarantee understand we have a duty to this brand we serve – to honour the past by living by the values that built the brand in the first place. My duty as CEO is to make sure they have the training, tools and resources to do the job – so that our dedicated employees can honour our promises to brokers and customers – every time.
Together, I promise we will work to ensure the last 140 years aren’t just part of a history lesson but instead are just the start… of something great!
Robert Dempsey - Retired President and Chief Operating Officer
April 9, 2012 marked the 140th anniversary of The Guarantee. Since opening our first office in Montreal in 1872, The Guarantee has grown to seven offices within Canada and 20 branches throughout the US. With a reputation for high quality, competitively priced products and superior claims service we have become one of the most respected and mature specialty insurers in Canada.
After 140 years, our company philosophy is still based on the original principle that product specialization and financial strength are key factors in building a successful business. Our commitment to deliver all of our specialty products through the broker distribution network has also been a cornerstone of our success.
As the insurance industry evolves through its consolidations, delivery systems development, and product enhancements, The Guarantee will meet those challenges with its proven team of professionals in information technology, underwriting expertise, marketing and claims settlement.
Stephen Ruschak - President and Chief Operating Officer
The Guarantee USA seeks to become a leading provider of surety products in the United States as we have been in Canada throughout our distinguished history. Everyone at The Guarantee USA is proud to represent the legacy of this company. The Guarantee’s tradition and reputation provides the path towards success across all of North America.
It is often said that surety is a business based on relationships between the underwriters and agents and brokers. We embrace that philosophy and hire the best surety professionals to represent us in the local markets. Our success is dependent on our people and the relationships they have with recognized agents and brokers. We strive to provide practical solutions for our business partners and surety clients.
The last several years have seen The Guarantee USA achieve many milestones. In 2009 we earned an upgrade to “A” (Excellent) from A.M Best. We are now licensed in all 50 states and are well-positioned in 20 major metropolitan areas across the USA. Our capital position and shareholder support is stronger than our peer companies. Finally, our disciplined underwriting approach when looking for new business opportunities will serve us well as we continue to experience profitable growth in our target markets.
How The West Was Won
The Guarantee followed the principle that you must have a strong relationship with your brokers and clients to understand their business and the local economy. This principle led The Guarantee to open a Vancouver office in 1985 and an Edmonton office in 1992 to service Western Canada. The last 15 years has seen tremendous growth in this region and in the Company’s market share.
During this time Western Canada became the growth engine for the country. The rise in commodity prices stimulated significant investment in resource industries. This led to a construction boom and an increase in the number of companies locating their head office in the west. British Columbia continued to benefit from its position as the Asia- Pacific gateway for Canada and its strong business and demographic links to that region. The future looked bright for Western Canada and The Guarantee positioned itself well to support that outlook.
Construction growth came in all sectors, including the following notable examples:
- Residential – condominiums in Vancouver and Calgary
- Institutional – large hospital and school projects to support population growth
- Civil – large highway infrastructure projects in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver
- Industrial – oil sands projects near Ft. McMurray and mines throughout the west
- Commercial – retail and warehouse construction to service expansion
Construction activity created a wealth of opportunity for Western Canada and The Guarantee supported that growth and success with sound surety facilities. The Company adapted meaningful changes in procurement practices including the use of P3s (Public, Private, Partnerships) and bundling projects into large packages.
As commercial growth increased so did the number and size of organizations in the non-profit, for profit and government sectors. The Guarantee responded with trusted Fidelity and D&O products. To this day, the Company is the largest writer of Fidelity in Western Canada and maintains a high level of broker confidence to insure their clients and pay covered claims promptly when they arise.
In 2001, The Guarantee began writing GUARANTEE GOLD® in the Prairies. Growth quickly ensued as the Company demonstrated the value of broad coverage, thorough inspections and superior claims service. Brokers and clients alike recognized the Company’s determination to grow GUARANTEE GOLD® in Western Canada. GUARANTEE GOLD® will be available to the British Columbia market in late 2012.
How The East Was Won
Since 1872, The Guarantee has been a leader in specialty insurance within the North American marketplace and has earned the prominent reputation of providing specialty insurance products, supported by a depth of knowledge and expertise in niche segments including the construction industry, corporate programs and customized personal insurance. Our technical expertise and industry knowledge is our competitive advantage.
In 2012, The Guarantee is increasing its focus on new business growth. Several initiatives are being implemented to this effect:
- Building stronger relationships with key brokers and business partners
- Geographical expansion
- Improving efficiencies and elevating service standards
- Continuing to build a strong national brand
- Creating new products and enhancements.
The Guarantee leverages long-term relationships with international reinsurers and professional in-house staff and is recognized within the industry for exceptional claims and customer service.
An ongoing commitment to the advancement in technology platforms supports The Guarantee’s focus on ease of doing business for partner brokers as well as clients.
With its 325 dedicated employees, Eastern Canada is well represented with Guarantee locations in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Woodstock.
We are convinced that we have the talent, the energy and the enthusiasm required to generate profitable growth which is the key to our future success and development.
Words From Our Clients
“I have never dealt with such prompt efficiency before. I am so pleased. Everything was attended to quickly and the end result was amazing. Thank you!”
L. Genova – Client since 2009
“You really do not know how good your insurance company is until you have a claim. Your service to me in this situation has been outstanding! I was considering changing to the insurance company provided through my work but afte rexperiencing your amazing customer service I completely changed my mind!”
W. Jackson – Client since 2003
“The Guarantee Company of North America is an exceptional Canadian insurance company. Congratulations from the members of the IBABC on 140 years of service to British Columbia”
Trudy Lancelyn, ABC – Deputy Executive Director, Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. / Editor, BC Broker Magazine
Congratulations to The Guarantee Company of North America serving Canadian since 1872. We want to applaud the dedication of The Guarantee Company of North America Family for helping to attain great achievement.”
Randy Carroll – Chief Executive Officer, Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
Advancements of The Guarantee
Early Years - In its early years the Company provided fidelity bonds for the employees of railways and banks, and later for private businesses and governments. These enterprises constituted the economic foundation from which Canada developed as a nation. To this day, The Guarantee is still one of the largest contract surety and fidelity bonding companies in the country.
In response to its growing volume of business, the Company, in 1881, applied to the Canadian Parliament for a name change and became known as The Guarantee Company of North America, and subsequently in 1890, the Company incorporated a subsidiary under the name of The United States Guarantee Company. The Company enjoyed success and boasted a distinguished Board of Directors including George H. Pullman, J.P. Morgan and Asa Potter. By the late 1880’s, The Guarantee was the largest fidelity company in the USA and had over 300 clients and directorates in all the major American cities.
Turn of the Century - During the economic boom of the early 1900’s, the Company prospered despite finding itself embattled by what Edward Rawlings described as “suicidal competition” mainly in the United States. In 1909, the Company’s surplus reached an impressive $1 million dollars.
The Future of The Guarantee
The New Millennium - With a strong financial position and product growth, the Company entered the 21st century ready and able to face dynamic market changes and challenges. Technology, competition and customer mobility challenged the reach, scale and pace at which the insurance industry needed to operate. The Guarantee embraced change with a new mindset and a goal to promote growth. The Company continued to strengthen its reputation by expanding relationships and networking with business partners, brokers and associations. The Company increased its activities to diversify in both insurance and investments.
2010 and Beyond - Amidst a volatile market and slow economic growth, the Company continued to deliver strong results in all product lines. Its success can be accredited to its legacy of strict underwriting guidelines, strong capital and a mission to embrace change.
The Guarantee, recognizing the important role of web-based technology in modern operations, released two on-demand web platforms to support and enhance the delivery of services to brokers.
The Company demonstrated substantial growth on all levels and continued to cement its reputation as a leading provider of surety bonds in the United States. Gross written premiums were recorded at $356 million and retained earnings increased to $413 million.
The Future - The future is exciting for The Guarantee. Gross written premiums continue to climb upwards as the Company strategically aligns itself to compete in a wave of technology and new market demands.
The Company’s steady growth, conservative underwriting, and financial stability have earned it the trust of its clients and the support of the international reinsurance community. This support and recognition allow the Company to continue to provide coverage for some of the largest clients and projects on the continent and to be a leader and major underwriter of specialized insurance products.
The Guarantee will remain a steadfast partner contributing to the growth of North America while serving the interests of its shareholders and clients as it has done so proudly for the last 140 years.