How It All Began
The Surety Association of Canada (SAC) was formed in 1992 by a group of companies that believed the surety industry needed a voice that was independent of its cousins in the insurance industry. Until that point, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) had assumed the role of industry advocate for suretyship on behalf of its member firms. This was not an ideal arrangement for two reasons:
Not representative of industry
Some of the largest writers of surety bonds were not members of IBC. At that time, IBC represented less than 50% of the surety writers from coast to coast.
Unique product requires its own voice
The uniqueness of surety and the vastly different advocacy imperatives required an organization that was focused on surety and on being the voice of the industry.
A group of five self-appointed renegades took the initiative and began to contact surety organizations across the country to scope out their interest and willingness to participate. The response was overwhelming and of 18 companies contacted, all expressed keen interest and all but one became inaugural members of the new association.
Of all the vexing challenges facing the organizing group, the most controversial and polarizing was the makeup of the association. Should we represent only “risk taking” entities (i.e. primary sureties and reinsurers) similar to the SFAA in the United States, or would we be more inclusive and invite all industry participants (brokers, consultants, law firms, etc.) to join? In the end we chose the big-tent approach; a choice that has served the association and industry well ever since as this “other than surety” group has collectively made a huge contribution to the association’s subsequent successes.
Following two years of organizing and negotiations, the Surety Association of Canada held its inaugural meeting on June 1st 1992 with 23 people in attendance. A 10 member Board of Directors was selected with Robert Taylor named as its first Chair. Bruce C. Gordon was appointed as the association’s first President.
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