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Disrupting the Canadian insurance sector


Rewriting the rule book for Canada’s insurance brokers WRIT TEN BY



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Delivering one-to-one insurance services with cutting-edge technologies, PBL Insurance is reshaping the way Canadian insurance brokers do business


igitization is shaking up industries across the globe and it seems the insurance sector is no exception.

For PBL Insurance, which has provided risk and insurance services to Canadians for almost a century, there was no doubt that digitization would be a central pillar of 04

its strategic plan. The firm’s Director of Technology, Joey Faraone, says that by undertaking a root-and-branch digital transformation and overhauling its legacy systems, PBL Insurance is “re-writing the way insurance companies do business in Canada”. “I would say that technology is playing a very big role in driving PBL’s transformation,” he explains. “We went from having some very old technology pieces running our network to understanding that now is the time to invest and prepare the company for the next 20 years of the technology curve.” Previously, Faraone says that PBL Insurance didn’t have a focused internal


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technology direction and so the Canadian firm decided to bring its digital strategy in-house. “The company wanted to get a better grasp on today’s technology and look at where technology will take the insurance industry in the future,” he says. “I was brought in to lead the development and management of new technologies and ensure that they align with the company’s business strategy.” Becoming a digital broker is no easy feat, but this transformation was firmly at the top of PBL’s agenda. Starting from the ground


up, the Ontario-based company set up brand new back-end infrastructure, including new fiber circuits, routers and E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E

Joey Faraone is a dedicated, dynamic and enthusiastic certified IT professional who specializes in project managing innovative data solutions to improve system stability, functionality and efficiency. Faraone is quick to familiarize himself with the latest technologies and industry developments while demonstrating a logical and analytical approach to solving complex problems and issues. Faraone is the Director of Technology at PBL Insurance where he possesses excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to develop and maintain positive internal and external relationships.

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switches. “We’re wiping the slate clean

software. In using a cloud-based,

and redesigning everything. We’re rolling

analytics-driven system, Faraone says

out new technologies to help us minimize

it’s reducing administrative burdens

the equipment footprint but not sacrifice

while simultaneously enhancing the

the service to our clients,” says Faraone.

visibility of its operations.

One of the company’s most cogent

“We are the first Canadian company

uses of technological innovation has

to move to the TechCanary platform,”

been how it has selected a new cutting-

notes Faraone. “You could say there’s

edge broker management system. By

a lot of eyes on us to see how the

adopting TechCanary, a solution based

solution is being rolled out in the

on Salesforce’s platform, PBL Insurance

Canadian market.” With such a wide

is breaking away from the confines

range of clientele and data, Faraone

of traditional insurance technology

believes that the platform will help

“We have a one-on-one direct relationship with our clients. Our brokers, our account executives and our staff treat our clients and customers as one of their own” — Joey Faraone, Director of Technology


the company meet its customers’ needs

data optimization and analytics while

and see what else it can do for them as

leveraging a breakthrough in routing

an organization. “It means that we don’t

efficiencies, enhancing performance

have a one-way path for our clients, we

and reliability with the flexibility and

can have a four-lane highway,” he notes.

affordability of a cloud service.

Shifting away from costly, hardware-

“With our new network being rolled

defined private networking solutions,

out, we’ve also put a lot of new con-

PBL Insurance has also implanted

tracts in place and we’ve implemented

a new software-defined wide-area

a new managed service provider (MSP),”

network (SD-WAN). This gives PBL

Faraone says. “This is helping us roll

the ability to leverage efficiencies and

out our network and enhance our user

create a more reliable network. It also

experience internally. The experience

gives the broker the option to use

that our internal staff has been used to w w w.pbl i nsura n ce. com

versus where they are today has been

know where all of our data is and that

a complete 180-degree turnaround.”

it’s accessible to us at a drop of a hat.

Cloud technology has been a major

“It’s promoting efficiency and produc-

trend in the insurance industry. Aside

tivity, but it will also change the customer

from its ability to lower costs and boost

experience,” he continues. “By using

productivity through mobile working,

cloud technologies like TechCanary,

it also offers a business continuity plan

our customer will be able to get faster

and security. Not one to stay in the

quotes and faster service while we tie

shadows, PBL Insurance is embrac-

everything together.”

ing cloud technology through its new


With cutting-edge technologies being

broker management system and

rolled out every day, technology partner-

colocation site.

ships have become critical to any digital

“We are moving towards the cloud

transformation. Faraone believes that

more and more every day,” Faraone

the company’s alliance with technology

says. “There’s no downtime and there’s

innovators like MicroAge is helping to

no lag, so efficiency is huge with this roll out. It’s ensuring that slow technology isn’t being used as a scapegoat. Our new broker management system also uses cloud technology which means our Account Executives can log into our system from anywhere and do business right on the spot. “We also have a very good system where we back up everything on our network nightly and then we move it to a colocation site which has its own back-up there. Then we move it to the cloud,” he continues. “It may sound like there’s a back-up of a back-up, but it’s very important to make sure that we


“We are the first Canadian company to move to a TechCanary platform. You could say there’s a lot of eyes on us to see how TechCanary is being rolled out in the Canadian market” — Joey Faraone, Director of Technology

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drive new ways of thinking. “MicroAge is a global company which provides insights with network engineers,” Faraone explains. “We collaborate to work on developing and understanding the latest technologies to see how we can implement them here at PBL Insurance. We have continuous improvement sessions on how we can cut a little here, add a little there. This ensures that we run in a very lean but efficient way.” Behind any successful transformation is the right team and a culture that fosters innovation. With this in mind, 12

PBL Insurance strives to engage staff by asking for opinions on the direction they’d like to see the company go. “When we decided to change broker management systems there were a lot of discussions, not just at the top but among all users about who is going be impacted by it. It’s changing the complete way our staff do work on a day-to-day basis,” comments Faraone. “The system was received very well. I think the fact that we are evolving our technology and our way of doing business is helping to attract top talent to the company because they want to be part of this journey.”

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘TECHCANARY OVERVIEW’ 13 With over 200 employees and 10 offices spread throughout the province, PBL prides itself on being uniquely Ontario based. Driving efficiency and productivity with its new digital tools, Faraone says that this transformation is not just reducing costs and administrative burden, it’s also freeing up more time so that it can give its clients the personable and responsive service they expect. “We have a one-on-one direct relationship with our clients,” notes Faraone. “I think that’s where we differ from other brokers. With 10 strategic w w w.pbl i nsura n ce. com


“We’re wiping the slate clean and redesigning everything.We’re rolling out new technologies to enable us to minimize the equipment but not sacrifice the service to our clients” — Joey Faraone, Director of Technology

office locations throughout the province, we have the ability to service our clients locally, and we take pride in servicing communities big and small in Ontario. Our brokers, our Account Executives and our staff treat our clients and customers as if they are one of their own.” Technology and customer service go hand in hand at PBL Insurance, and as the industry shifts under the influence of the technological revolution it seems the company is ready for any dynamic changes that may come its way. “In five or 10 years, I expect PBL Insurance will be the top broker in Ontario, building partnerships yearly with other brokerages in the industry,” predicts Faraone. “I believe we will be a leader in innovation and that we will be an example to other brokerages on how they can leverage the latest technology to their advantage. It’s not always about spending the most money and getting the latest and greatest, it’s about understanding and fine-tuning technology to your company’s needs.”

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150 Ouellette Pl Suite 100 Windsor, N8X 1L9 Canada T 1-800-661-5175

Profile for Business Chief Canada

PBL Insurance Ltd. brochure – March 2019  

PBL Insurance Ltd. brochure – March 2019  

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