Although the Mutuals are often thought of as one larger entity because they work as part of a collaborative system, it is important to remember that each Mutual is its own independent organization.
Each Mutual has its own board of directors. The directors are selected from policyholders, and that selection takes place at annual meetings. Many boards meet monthly, although some now meet less frequently. These days when we consider the structure and governance of Mutuals, directors have an oversight role. The days of directors undertaking the actual operation of the mutual through approving new policies, doing loss prevention and settling claims is long past.
Ontario Mutuals are provincially incorporated and supervised. The regulatory body is the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA). Mutuals in other provinces may be provincially or federally regulated.
Part of the structure and governance that makes the Ontario farm mutuals unique is that OMIA, Farm Mutual Re, and the Fire Mutual Guarantee Fund act as core system-wide organizations that provide an industry governance level. For example, in many cases OMIA and the Fire Mutuals Guarantee Fund often work with FSRA collectively rather than FSRA contacting each Mutual individually. Farm Mutual Re works with other partners in the reinsurance market to manage the overall reinsurance profile of the mutual system.
Here is a short video about the core values of the Mutuals.
How does OMIA fit into the picture? OMIA’s mission statement is ‘To serve and strengthen our mutual insurance community’. Our sole purpose is to help member mutuals prosper and thrive as mutual insurers.
OMIA fulfills its role in various ways, including:
General meetings and networking
Data strategy and statistics
Employee benefits and pension
Special projects, surveys, and studies
Promotion, trade shows, and sponsorships
Group programs for E&O, D&O, Cyber cover, and specialty insurance
Additionally, the shared service model through OMIA allows economies of scale and expertise. If there is something that a mutual cannot take on itself, OMIA, often working with Farm Mutual Re, and CAMIC can identify a solution.
Let’s check your understanding. What did you learn in this section?
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