Canadian franchises run the gamut from fast food chains to children’s products and services, but there is one obstacle common among sectors: market fragmentation.
“What we try to bring attention to is what we’ve seen, which is a very fragmented market,” said Rick Swanarchuk, Vice President, Broker Distribution, Marketing and Regional Operations, Wynward Insurance Group. “We’ve actually been quite surprised with a lot of the franchise brands that we’ve elected to get involved in, and can’t believe how fragmented and staggered they’ve allowed their insurance programs to become.”
If unaddressed, these inconsistencies can negatively impact the entire franchise chain.
“We’ve seen brands that had 75 locations, and those 75 locations were insured by three different insurance partners with 50 different expiry dates,” Swanarchuk said.
As a result, Swanarchuk and his team take strides to inform all stakeholders about the importance of coordinated insurance coverage.
“We look to educate brokers and clients to say there’s a real net benefit here of bringing the entire group together,” he said. “I don’t think necessarily that franchises have had that appreciation of a common platform and recognizing what it can do for their brand and overall peace of mind.”
In addition, once all franchise locations consolidate their insurance programs, providers can easily communicate with the entire enterprise at once. This allows the chain to remain at the cutting edge of risk prevention, since all stores can quickly be aligned under a new policy or procedure.
“We have a mandate to be proactive to help clients manage risk and prevent loss before it happens,” said Swanarchuk. “That service complements the franchise model well because if there are 50 locations under one franchise brand, we know that the stores will all be designed to look nearly identical across the board.”
This makes leading by example easy.
“What we can do from a loss control standpoint is use one of our team members from any region across Canada to be on site and tour a few facilities. The client and broker can then take those findings and share them on a national basis, so instead of spending time touring all 100 stores, they can create a communication piece that goes out to the balance of franchise outlets and learn from the visits we conducted.”