Canada's Underwriting History: Opta Information Intelligence

Firmly rooted in Canada's insurance and risk industries, Opta has been driving the industry's evolution with information and innovation for over 100 years.

Most Accurate and Comprehensive Information Databases in Canada

Opta possesses the most comprehensive structured risk information property databases in Canada. With a history rooted in the Canadian Fire Underwriters' Association (founded in 1883), Opta possesses more physical construction information and site-specific risk intelligence than any other organization in the country.

Proprietary Insurance Technology that Transforms Information into Intelligence

Not only do we provide our clients with access to valuable information, but we also provide them with proprietary technology to help them see, understand, and analyze that information for insight leading to profitable business decisions.

Rooted in Canada's Property and Casualty History

Deeply entrenched in the P&C insurance industry, Opta's research and development is fueled by a deep understanding of the business of insurance. Opta continues to increase customer value and drive transformation through innovations such as Fire Grades and iClarify Residential and Commercial, among others.
Setting Industry-Recognized Standards As the only organization in Canada that regularly gathers, collects, and updates information on fire grades, claims and loss histories, rating models, and historical maps, Opta is widely considered the industry standard for risk and insurance intelligence.

Built by Industry Experts

Our professionals leverage extensive backgrounds in insurance operations, actuarial science, engineering, computer programing, management science, and risk and claims management to provide clients with the information they need to drive profitable growth

Unlocking Information through Partnerships

As part of the SCM group of companies, Opta enhances its information network with access to valuable claims and loss history information from the country's largest independent claims management company, ClaimsPro, and commercial and residential loss control expertise from the country's largest risk management company, RMS. Extensive industry partnerships provide us with even more information, consequently enhancing our ability to provide our clients with valuable business intelligence.

1883: 30 insurance companies form the Canadian Fire Underwriters' Association (CFUA), to observe the fire underwriting rules and rates being created. Instrumental to this is the creation of town classifications for firefighting capabilities and loss control related to electrical, lighting, and appliances fire concerns.

1936: The CFUA transitions into the Canadian Underwriters' Association (CUA), with the goal of promoting high ethical standards, making and maintaining rates, regulating compensation, and maintaining security of the business.

1951: Underwriters' Adjustment Bureau (UAB) is created and co-owned by 146 insurance companies operating in Canada, with the goal of improving the settlement of claims and ensuring more equitable and uniform adjustments in fire and casualty insurance.

1961: The CUA creates its Fire Prevention Training School, the first of its kind in North America, to satisfy a demand for highly trained loss control technicians.

1974: The CUA dissolves and is replaced by the Insurers' Advisory Organization (IAO) of Canada, an organization whose primary function was to provide advice and information to a broader range of clients such as insurers, brokers, governments, and risk managers, by providing tailored fire and casualty loss control inspections, actuarial rating support, information technology services, and training via its own IAO School of Loss Control Technology. The municipal work and town grading provided by the IAO is formalized into a separate operation of the IAO called Public Fire Protection Survey Services (PFPSS) which was financed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and managed by the IAO.

1976: CGI (Consultants to Government and Industry, or Conseillers en gestion et informatique) is started in Quebec as an information systems and managements consultant company.

1978: PFPSS is re-named Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS), as a service to insurers and municipalities and is brought back under full control of the IAO.

1992: The UAB purchases the IAO, and they operate as the UAB Group Inc.

2002: CGI purchases the combined UAB and IAO, or the UAB Group, which becomes an integral part of CGI's Insurance Business Services (IBS).

2008: SCM Insurance Services (SCM) acquires CGI's Claims and Risk Management operations from IBS and rebrands those to ClaimsPro and SCM Risk Management Services Inc. as separate division of Corporate SCM.

2012: SCM creates Opta Information Intelligence from the Information & Analytics division of RMS and the IT division of SCM.

Read: The Underwriters: the history of the Insurers' Advisory Organization and its predecessors, the Canadian Fire Underwriters' Association and the Canadian Underwriters' Association by Christopher L. Hives, 1985