Insuring New Brunswick’s economic development

Statistics Canada surveys businesses to assess employment levels.  Guess the fastest growing industry in New Brunswick in the past five years?  No, you cynic, it is not funeral services business.  In fact for some reason employment in the funeral services business in New Brunswick is down over the past five years.  Either that industry is getting more productive or it might have something to do with the consolidation going on in the industry. Yes, I keep my eye on the funeral services business too.  It’s not macabre.  For a purely economic rationale.  Still a bit creeped out by that Molly Parker movie.  Google it.

No, the fastest growing industry in New Brunswick between 2013 and 2017 (2018 data not out yet) is the insurance carrier sector. Between 2013 and 2017 the industry added 2,100 new jobs. This was more than hospitals (1,900) and public administration (2,000).

There are now over 5,000 people working in this sector and most of it is export activity.  A lot of the employment is in Greater Moncton – Wawanesa, Medavie, Cooperators, etc. but also Saint John anchored by TD Insurance.  New Brunswick now has more employment in the insurance carrier business as a share of the labour market than all other provinces except Manitoba.   There are over 5,000 people processing insurance claims and other back office work from across Canada.  I’m not sure how much higher end work is being done (actuarial, etc.) but at least some of that work is done here too.

We should do all we can to nurture this business. I understand CCNB now as a course that graduates folks with skills in the insurance sector.  I would double down on this.  Let’s pump hundreds through insurance-related college programs and stream them right into the insurance carrier sector.  Same with UNB and UdeM.  Let’s teach the business grads more about the insurance business because they can start their careers right here in New Brunswick with some of the best known firms in the business.

How about university research?  We have chairs in cannabis, big data, cyber, etc.  None are even close in terms of employment impact in New Brunswick.  How about putting our researchers to work thinking about the future of insurance and customer interaction?  How about global warming and the impact on P&C insurance?

How about startups?  There must be dozens of good ideas that could align with the insurance sector.   Instead of waiting for the insurance industry to knock on our door, why not barge in and ask?

This is a good thing.  Let’s wrap around the insurance carrier industry a value proposition so strong that even more will want to invest and grow here.


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