Who We Are
Axxima is different. We’re an independent risk/insurance management and actuarial consulting firm. We specialize in self-insurance, we revel in breaking the mould, and we love empowering our clients. The design, implementation and management of insurance programs and alternative risk financing strategies is our thing. And, while we know that’s probably the last thing most people would think was interesting – we love it, and we wouldn’t do anything else.
Our actuaries don’t fit the stereotype. They are outgoing and keen to engage with you. They take complex actuarial concepts and find a way to make them relatable and understandable. And when boards and senior management understand the work of their actuaries, it creates opportunities to manage risks in very exciting ways.
Our risk and insurance management team actually runs insurance companies. They’re also a licensed insurance brokerage. That means they not only provide consulting advice, they can also provide services for every aspect of the insurance process. Soup to nuts. The whole enchilada. Everything – including the kitchen sink. You get a consulting team that has real hands-on experience in a dizzying array of insurance areas.
We have a seriously long list of services, including self-insurance feasibility studies, actuarial analyses, reinsurance placements and insurance program management services, including principal attorney and accounting services.
- How We Do It
- Our History
- What We Do
Axxima’s success depends on the quality and commitment of its professional staff and the relationships that the principals of Axxima have developed with clients and service providers. We believe relationships are critical, and we’re firm believers that business is personal.
Axxima’s hallmark is its ability to deliver Creativity, Clarity, and Control.
Axxima’s philosophy is to focus on long-term partnerships built on value-added services, trust and timely delivery. We do this by educating our clients in the principles and operation of insurance management and actuarial science. Our clients have complete access to expertize through the Axxima principals and staff. At the end of the day, we’re successful when you are.
Axxima’s story begins in the late 1980s when a liability insurance crisis prompted the formation of many self-insurance vehicles. One of the key players at that time was a global insurance consulting firm whose staff of actuaries and consultants helped not only start these new insurance entities, but also operate and manage them.
Three of Axxima’s founding principals worked together at that firm, and moved together to Dion, Durrell + Associates Inc. in 1995 when it was formed.
Dion, Durrell + Associates Inc. continued providing self-insurance management, actuarial and strategic consulting services for 18 years. During that time, two more of Axxima’s founding partners joined the group.
Then, in 2013, Axxima’s founding partners carried out a management buy-out of the business they managed, specifically, the insurance management and casualty actuarial practice. Axxima has been providing actuarial and insurance consulting services to clients large and small ever since.
For some clients, we operate as a virtual insurer, delivering the full array of services required on a turnkey basis, under the direction of the clients’ board/committee structure. Other clients have an infrastructure or other outsourced arrangements already in place, and we provide services (e.g., brokerage, accounting, actuarial) on an unbundled basis.
Axxima’s broad service offering gives us the depth to assist clients in finding and exploiting business opportunities. While we are frequently engaged because of our depth of expertise, our breath is one of our biggest assets, and is a significant value add for our clients who have come to rely on us to guide and assist them with strategic issues and initiatives.
Here’s a taste of what we do, for more details, check out our services section:
Learn What We Can Do For You
In rendering our insurance management services, we balance two critical objectives: efficient delivery and highly customized service. For some clients, we operate as a virtual insurer, delivering the full array of services required on a turnkey basis under the direction of the client’s board/committee structure. Other clients have an infrastructure or other outsourced arrangements already in place, and we provide services on an unbundled basis.
We regularly co-ordinate our activities with other service providers, including insurance brokers, claims adjusters, etc.
Our principal attorney services include preparing Board materials, attending Board meetings, actioning items from the Board, liaising with regulators, coordinating service providers, tracking expenses to budget and ensuring that regulatory filing requirements are met in a timely manner.
As many self-insured entities operate with minimal staff, we also offer emergency replacement or succession planning to ensure continuity of services/operations to the entities.
Our insurance accountants offer a breadth of services from full turnkey accounting, to temporary leave support and specific project/reviews as required.
We offer the full cycle accounting services from day-to-day operations such as issuing cheques, deposits, general ledger entries and bank statements reconciliation to preparing financial statements and management reports. We ensure compliance with all regulatory/reporting requirements, restrictions on signatories and internal controls. We prepare monthly, quarterly and annual filings (including premium tax remittances and suppression of terrorism reports). We liaise with auditors, actuaries, investment manager and audit committees, as required. For reciprocals, we provide accounting at the subscriber level to ensure that all participants understand their financial interest in the reciprocal.
We also support and educate our clients, Audit Committees and Boards on changes in accounting standards that impact their operations. From impact assessments, progress reports, planning and implementation, our team of experts partners with you to guide you through all aspects of implementation.
We manage all aspects of the claims process, including claim report acknowledgement, coverage review, retention/instruction of adjusters/legal counsel (as appropriate), claim reserving, attendance at mediation, etc. We develop claims systems and claims management protocols, and liaise with auditors, actuaries and reinsurers as required.
With a focus on professional liability claims, our team of lawyers has unparalleled experience in managing complex litigation, and at the same time, we have developed systems to efficiently manage high volume claims programs.
Our team of licensed brokers works closely with clients to understand risk exposure and risk appetite, review the current insurance and reinsurance arrangements to analyze their efficiency, and provide recommendations. Our focus is to assist clients in modifying, designing and developing the insurance coverage which will be ideal for their needs.
We establish recommended best practices to better control risk exposures that can or have resulted in loss. We provide policy wording and reinsurance contract expertise, as well as overall underwriting guidelines.
In managing your operations, you may be dealing with initiatives such as expanding coverage and/or membership, relocating primary regulator, redrafting rules or subscribers’ agreements, managing requests for proposals, performing governance reviews or developing governance policies (surplus management, investment policies, outsourcing policies, rating policies, etc.).
Axxima can lead, support, manage and provide strategic advice to help you achieve the next step in your organisation’s journey. We can also help your organization understand regulatory changes and guidance issued and their impact on your entity.
Our focus on providing clients with more control and flexibility over their risk is evidenced by our expertise in self-insurance feasibility studies. We provide our clients with analysis that addresses the actuarial, accounting, regulatory, insurance and reinsurance structure and governance aspects so that clear decisions can be made.
Our analysis provides clients with the information required to make a go/no-go decision on prudent self-insurance or insurance program structures. Our creative thinking always challenges the status quo and offers customised/tailored solutions.
We work with facilities already in place to maximize their value by:
- Developing risk financing strategies including experience-rated insurance plans, captives, reciprocals, pooling and reinsurance arrangements, catastrophe/stop loss coverage, etc.
- Optimizing insurance/reinsurance structures
- Helping organizations to develop an informed understanding of their risk appetite
- Evaluating of options for deductible levels and policy limits (including aggregate limits)
- Stochastic modelling to study the volatility and probability of losses under a variety of retention or cession scenarios (including layering and aggregate loss transfer)
Our services include all aspects of affinity program management. From setting up an affinity program, monitoring/optimizing it, going to market, negotiating terms and assisting with transition, we offer strategic consulting services to meet your needs.
We partner expertise from the actuarial and brokerage sides to educate, gather data, provide analysis and recommendations on go-forward strategies for our clients. The insurance markets appreciate our openness and have adapted to our creative approach. Our focus is always to offer your members and employees value in your trusted brand and partnerships.
Axxima’s approach to insurance and reinsurance placements has always been one of achieving stability and security. We have the actuarial capability to price risks effectively to ensure that insurers are offering terms that are commensurate with the risk being underwritten. We evaluate insurers on the following five criteria:
Axxima works with clients to assess their risk exposures and risk appetite, and to assist in placing the insurance coverage which will be the optimal solution for their needs. As insurance consultant, we:
- Develop program structure options, including indications of premium, retention, coverage and limits
- Solicit quotes from insurers, negotiate the best rates, assist clients with the evaluation of options
- Pair actuarially determined pricing with commercial financial requirements
- Review policies and endorsements for conformity to agreed terms and coverage
We have expertise in the following types of coverages:
- Professional Liability
- Commercial Liability
- Excess Insurance
We focus on creative reinsurance placement, challenging status quo structures with a strong focus on actuarial and technical analysis. Our overriding objective is to reflect our clients’ cultures and unique risk appetites in each project that we undertake. In the self-insurance world, long term relationships and overall stability of operations influence reinsurance strategy and ultimately determine the structure and placement of risk transfer solutions.
At the root, the reinsurance business is not complicated: transfer risk at a rate that is expected in the long run to produce a reasonable profit. Markets respond favourably to the professional submission and creative ideas that we bring to the table, knowing that we have the tools and expertise to do so while creating win-win situations for both the reinsurer and the reinsured.
Our reputation and work with reinsurers on complex and, when necessary, atypical reinsurance structures, has been successful because of our ability to speak the reinsurer’s language, and most importantly, the language of their key decision makers including their actuaries.
We perform all aspects of the reinsurance placement including negotiation, preparation and signing of contracts, payment of premium and reinsurance claims and periodic exchange of information as required. As reinsurance consultants, we:
- Review and develop an optimal reinsurance structure addressing our clients’ long-term strategy in a unique and creative way
- Provide technical expertise to evaluate options and pricing, as well as developing of target risk level
- Provide reinsurance market expertise to secure the reinsurance coverage
- Prepare an annual reinsurance submission that meets the objectives and requirements of our client for the annual placement
- Monitor and assess the participating reinsurers for their financial viability
- Provide the highest quality of customer services and responsiveness to our client, with various contact points and senior resources
Being Lloyd’s Coverholder gives us ability to provide the client with a unique blend of control and security. In accordance with the terms of a negotiated binding authority agreement, we provide services such as:
- Binding risks and issuing policy documents, including endorsements and certificates of insurance
- Collecting and processing premiums
- Managing and settling claims
Axxima’s actuarial team provides a wide range of creative solutions covering diverse insurance types, including professional liability, property and automobile, for various entities. Our work includes the following work for our clients:
- Annual reserving work, including liaison with auditor and peer review actuary
- Quarterly reserving work or quarterly financial monitoring
- P&C-1 and financial notes support
- Financial proformas and multi-year projections
- Annual ratemaking and self-insured retention studies
- Internal surplus target and development of surplus policy, ORSA and FCT
- Education session for Boards and audit committees on changes in regulatory guidelines, accounting standards and actuarial standards, etc.
Our actuaries are involved with professional associations which develop actuarial educational materials as well as provide professionalism training for actuaries and actuarial students.
We support audit firms as their actuarial specialist for the insurance includes. In addition, we also act as external peer reviewer for the valuation of actuarial liabilities and financial condition testing as required by regulators. We are also involved with clients on special consulting projects such as:
- Affinity programs monitoring, consultation and renewals
- Addition of lines of business
- Development of governance policies, etc.
Our stochastic financial modelling software allows us to provide a myriad of analyses to our clients involving simulation and financial forecasting that are useful to assess the volatility of possible outcomes for various projects.
Whether in the context of a Monte Carlo pricing analysis or ORSA modelling at various probability levels, we have the ability to customize our analysis to reflect our clients’ specific needs.
We have built a strong AgriInsurance expertise through our work with many provincial programs and the federal government on various certification and special projects such as:
- Assessment and recommendations on the probable yield methodology, premium methodology and self-sustainability of the insurance program, including a review of the target insurance fund level
- Review of program design (actuarial component)
- Reinsurance modeling and internal targets related to reinsurance purchase philosophy
Elena Cealaia, CPA, CGA
CFO and Principal of Risk & Insurance Management Services
An accountant by training, accreditation, and in practice, Elena is Axxima’s CFO and also an active consultant delivering accounting services to Axxima clients.
Elena Cealaia as a CFO of Axxima manages the company's finances and is responsible for financial reporting. She is involved in setting and tracking financial goals, objectives, and budgets, assessing financial risks and opportunities.
Elena is also in charge of day-to-day finance and accounting activities for a number of large reciprocal insurance exchange programs. Elena performs monthly and quarterly general ledger accounts analysis and reconciliations, and is responsible for the preparation of monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting to insurance regulators. Elena provides ongoing insurance accounting consulting and outsourced services to a variety of insurance and self-insurance entities.
Elena has more than 19 years of finance and accounting experience, including 10 years in the insurance field in the property and casualty area. Elena has a bachelor's degree in Accounting and CPA, CGA designation.
Send me an emailOffice: Toronto
Sarah Ashley Chevalier, FCIA, FCAS
Principal of Property & Casualty Actuarial Services
Sarah is a consulting actuary who is fond of numbers. She loves to tackle complex business challenges and is passionate about helping clients turn data into decisions.
Sarah advises clients in the areas of valuation, pricing, capital, and other actuarial and strategic analyses for various property, liability and agriculture programs provided by insurers, self-insured entities and reciprocals.
Sarah is active in the actuarial community and is currently the chair of the P&C Financial Reporting Committee of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. She also serves as chair of the Examination Committee of the Casualty Actuarial Society, which is responsible for the credentialing process for actuarial candidates specializing in P&C insurance.
Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in actuarial mathematics from Concordia University. She is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Send me an emailOffice: Montreal
Phone: 450.646.2500 ext. 202
Ryan Durrell, B.Sc. (Hons)
CIO, Principal Broker and Principal of Risk & Insurance Management Services
Originally part of the actuarial team when he started out, Ryan has since moved to the insurance management side of the business as an insurance and reinsurance consultant. He is also the CIO for Axxima and the Principal Broker for Axxima’s insurance brokerage.
Ryan is Axxima’s Principal Broker, CIO and a Principal of the Risk and Insurance Management Services practice. Ryan has over 15 years of actuarial, general insurance, and risk management experience and operates in each of the actuarial, broking, underwriting, and management areas.
Ryan is responsible for delivering strategic consulting and management services to Axxima’s clients. In addition to ongoing insurance management functions such as insurance/reinsurance placements, Lloyd’s binding authority management, and claims analytics, he has been involved in many other projects, such as captive feasibility studies, reciprocal insurance exchange formation, affinity insurance program negotiation, and other risk management assignments.
Ryan has an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from Trent University and is a registered Insurance Broker in all provinces.
Send me an emailOffice: Toronto
Norma J. Ibbetson
COO, Principal of Risk & Insurance Management Services
Norma is the queen of processes at Axxima. In addition to managing the claims team, she provides staff and project management. Befitting of her unique set of skills, she is Axxima’s COO.
Norma is Axxima’s COO and as such is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the firm. She is also a consultant of the Risk insurance management services practice (RIMS) and has 30 years of experience in insurance management.
Norma is responsible for providing management services to a number of insurers and group insurance plans. Her responsibilities include the coordination of all aspects of the management, claims and administrative functions, including maintenance of claims and statistical records, policy and certificate issuance, premium billing and collection, and retention/direction of appropriate support staff.
Send me an emailOffice: Toronto
Julie-Linda Laforce, FCIA, FCAS, MAAA
CEO, Principal of Property & Casualty Actuarial Services
Julie-Linda is Axxima’s CEO and Principal of Property and Casualty Actuarial Services. It’s a wicked combination. As a consulting actuary, she is a leader in the self-insurance space, especially for reciprocal insurance exchanges. As our CEO, she routinely applies her understanding of business mechanics to make Axxima work like a well-oiled machine.
Julie-Linda is Axxima’s CEO and she also leads the Property & Casualty Actuarial Services practice. She has more than 20 years of combined experience in the actuarial valuation of policy liabilities, work of the appointed actuary, ratemaking, AgriInsurance certifications, self-insured retention analysis, affinity program consulting, reinsurance pricing and negotiations, modelling (“ORSA”), adequacy of capital studies (“FCT”) development of surplus policies and strategic consulting.
Julie-Linda has a bachelor degree in actuarial sciences from Laval University and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. She is also a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Send me an emailOffice: Montreal
Phone: 450.646.2500 ext. 200
Patrick Mahoney, LL.B.
Chair, Principal of Risk & Insurance Management Services
With decades of claims and insurance management experience, Patrick is the perfect choice as Axxima’s chairman of the board. His understanding of the operation and management of insurance companies not only benefits our clients, but also internally at Axxima.
Patrick is Axxima’s Chair and leads Axxima’s Risk & Insurance Management Services practice. He has 25 years of experience providing consulting advice to clients on a broad range of insurance and risk management matters. Patrick provides management services to reciprocal insurance exchanges and other insurance operations and assists in the design and implementation of alternative risk financing strategies.
Patrick was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1989. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Canadian Bar Association.
Send me an emailOffice: Toronto
- Actuarial science
- (Re)insurance brokering
- Claims management
- Business administration
Many of them have accreditation from recognized self-regulated professional bodies such as the Charted Professional Accountants of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Law Society of Ontario, to name a few. Axxima also operates an insurance brokerage which is licensed across Canada with staff licensed in each province and territory.