FEBRUARY FEBRUARY2014 2014
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GILLIAN VAN KEMPEN ON THE INSURANCE BROKERS ASSOCIATION OF DURHAM REGION’S
AFFILIATE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“THE LOVE ISSUE”
02 ASSOCIATION NEWS 04 SUCCESSION PLANNING 06 CEO CORNER 10 MEMBER BENEFITS 11
ART OF CONVERSATION
12 YBC SPOTLIGHT 14 TECHNOLOGY UPDATE 15 COMMUNITY VIEW
The ofﬁcial publication of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO)
ASSOCIATION NEWS The Official Publication of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Published by
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Art Direction Sue Williamson The Ontario Broker is published monthly by Canadian Underwriter magazine (www.canadianunderwriter.ca). Canadian Underwriter’s Insurance Group of publications is part of Business Information Group (www.businessinformationgroup.ca), a subsidiary of Glacier Media Inc., a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-to-business information services. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, either in part or in full, including photocopying and recording, without the written consent of the copyright owner. Nor may any part of this publication be stored in a retrieval system of any nature without prior written consent. The articles that appear in this publication represent the opinions of the authors and do not represent or embody any official position of, or statement by, IBAO; nor do they attempt to set forth definitive action standards or to provide legal advice.
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Brett Boadway Director of Broker Relations and Communications IBAO
“Be sincere; be brief.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt Amen. That’s our new approach to communicating with you. So let’s get right to the point. The IBAO has started making changes to the way it communicates with you — have you noticed? Our philosophy is simple: Quality is more important than quantity. We have no interest in violating your inbox via e-mail overload, and we want to allow you to choose your favourite method of receiving information. It’s time to take our relationship to the next level. Good communication is a fundamental part of
02 February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
our healthy bond. When we stop communicating, well, we stop relating well — and times of change or stress can certainly bring out any resulting disconnect. Here are a few ways that IBAO is trying to make this work (and we’re not stopping here).
Weekly e-mails! If you are not receiving our weekly e-mail every Wednesday… get on the mailing list. Call me and we will make it happen. We are trying very hard not to be annoying — only sharing content that is important. We are also
sharing speaking notes that will help you in conversations with your clients, political updates and special offers available to members that showcase the value of your membership dollar.
Facebook! Add us! Our goal is to deliver the perfect combo of membership offers and content that you can share on your own feeds with your own clients. Have a Facebook relationship with the IBAO; update your feed to include messages from the IBAO. Feel free to steal any of our content and use it for your own brokerage.
Is it just me or is the IBAO tweeting more in 2014? Yes we are! Insurance brokers need to be more relevant in this space, and IBAO is happy to lead the way. We are starting conversations with the media, building relationships with industry partners and insurance companies, and sharing content of interest. Follow us… steal our content… join the party.
The ’70s called. They wanted their magazine back We agree. The magazine was aesthetically outdated. We are proud to introduce a magazine that looks like it belongs in 2014. We are hoping you enjoy the content, too.
Call me, maybe With all of this new stuff, members might be tempted to conclude that the telephone is dead as a
means of customer service between your brokerage and the IBAO. Not so. I still prefer the telephone over any other media when it comes to interacting. There is nothing like a good old-fashioned chat.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ~ Dale Carnegie The IBAO is just beginning its journey toward better communications with you — and we welcome any feedback that you have. Whether it is, “I really like this,” all the way to “this information is junk”… I’ll take it. Let’s find a way
March 5 IBAO Executive Meeting
March 5 IBAO Executive Meeting
March 5 Exec to Exec Dinner — Travelers
March 5 Exec to Exec Dinner — Travelers
March 9-11 ASAE New Ideas Conference
March 20 Ontario Mutual Insurance Association AGM
March 20 Ontario Mutual Insurance Association AGM
March 20 Liberal Heritage Dinner
March 20 Liberal Heritage Dinner
March 21-22 SGI AGM — Saskatoon
March 17-18 Insurance Canada Conference
to talk that works. IBAO also wants to hear your stories and share them with the other members. We can be the aggregate source of broker insurance content — celebrating your brokerage efforts by sharing your content with your peers. We can help you by
helping you learn from one another. In the spirit of “The Love Issue,” I will conclude with this thought: As long as we are communicating, we can work through whatever problem we are facing. I look forward to hearing from you.
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SUCCESSION PLANNING W. David Baxter General Manager Gillons Insurance Brokers Territory 1 Director IBAO
True Love Never Dies My professional life and career as an insurance broker took a dramatic change about 18 months ago when the shares of my brokerage were sold to another independent broker. That choice was made by shareholders at the time to best solve the perpetuation of the company, the future of our staff and the economic returns that we deserve. For myself, I ended up doing a vendor take-back and stayed on as general manager with the merger of Thunder Bay Insurance and Gillons Insurance Brokers. Writing this article affords an opportunity to advise many of my industry colleagues over the past 35 years of that new position. Most of you may know me as the person wearing the tattoo or dressed in logo wear of Thunder Bay Insurance
for the past three decades or so. And although the name of the business has changed, the brand and the love I feel for the brokerage has not. Through the years with my fellow shareholders at Thunder Bay Insurance, our brand was based on the brokerage’s core values of professionalism, caring for customers, caring for our community and working in collaboration with the insurance industry, as well as an appreciation of our history and our people, all of whom helped drive the performance of the brokerage. Lucky for both me and my staff, many of these values are present in the brokerage that will lead us into the future. Aligning your brokerage with another brokerage for perpetuation undoubtedly has its challenges — becoming familiar with new computer systems, company underwriting, workflows and procedures, and the office environment. For me, the role of leader and visionary for the company has changed to coach and mentor to assist staff during this time. The personal rewards I have gained by the changes in my role have allowed me to see the growth in each employee around me — and that has been very rewarding.
Future outlook As I look to the future, I see the career paths of our employees growing with their new strength and knowledge of the broker system. I also see the development of the youth in our office. It is great to see that the broker channel is alive and well. For my generation of brokers, we now have the opportunity to give back — both through our time and our knowledge. I consider it our duty to make sustainable choices for the future of the independent broker channel and to provide the best insurance choices for Ontario consumers. Life after perpetuation is good — that is if you can learn to park your ego at the door and take time to give back to those who need your help so that they are able to achieve their goals and perpetuate the independent broker channel. A succession plan for your business should be a top priority for 2014. IBAO is here to provide the necessary guidance for those brokerages looking to expand, as well as for those considering selling. We believe an independent broker is the best broker for the consumer and the industry. Let us help you understand all of your options.
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CEO CORNER John Taylor President & Chief Executive Officer Ontario Mutual Insurance Association
The Accidental Career Not too long ago, I heard a colleague describe insurance as an “accidental career” — the implication being that many of us “stumbled upon” the insurance profession as opposed to setting it as our childhood goal. Many of our insurance peers describe their start in the business as a combination of good timing, good luck and good advice from a friend or family member in the business. Accidental career or not, most concede that a career in insurance has been rewarding, challenging and even occasionally exciting. One of the rewarding aspects of my role as president of the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association is having an opportunity to recruit newcomers to the insurance professions and develop strategies to ensure our industry is attractive to up-and-coming graduates.
Strategy all-important These strategies have become increasingly important as demographics point to a significant exodus of highly skilled and experienced professionals as the “baby boom” takes its curtain call over the next decade. Preparing for this skills gap means working with both universities and community colleges as they prepare graduating students for a career. This time of year is particularly busy for these students, as they combine studying for finals with searching out their first job opportunities with companies, brokers or adjusting firms. When students ask for advice on how to begin and build their careers, I share some of the things that I have seen from those who have 06 February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
prospered in an insurance career. • Join an organization that you admire — When starting out, there is a tendency to focus on obtaining a specific position or working in a set location. A lot of time is spent pondering job descriptions, salary levels and earning potential. These are all important parts of choosing the right job. Just as important, however, is making sure that when committing to an organization, you find something to admire about that organization. This can be difficult and requires more than just reading newspapers or an Internet search. Nonetheless, as a job-seeker, if you can find an organization that shows transparent, consistent and conscientious leadership, you may be starting in the right place. The effect of that leadership can be seen in the way employees treat each other and how they treat their customers. An organization’s culture and values walk in and out the door everyday with its employees. • Keep on learning — The insurance industry has always promoted continuous learning, as well as the need for employees to improve their skills and prepare for changes in how we do business. Our industry has shown a superior commitment to providing time and funding for employees to continue learning. The decision to keep on learning rests with the individual. Self-initiative in completing courses is critical. Just as important, however, is a person’s willingness to be open to new and unusual job postings that may not initially appeal to them. Many in the insurance industry have had long careers with one or two employers. Look carefully at those careers, however, and you will see “careers within careers,” and a willingness to take a risk and try something new that provides an invaluable learning experience. • Don’t worry about your dream job (but try and figure it out at some point) — I know we are all supposed to have a master plan, but some individuals become focussed on one position and one position only. In a perfect world, we get that job and live happily ever after. In the insurance world, however, some jobs just have to be experienced to be
fully appreciated. It’s not uncommon for new employees to find a job they initially thought would be ideal turn out to be radically different and unsuited to them. So in looking at how to get started, don’t forget that your first job won’t be your last. You may have to try a few before you get it right. • High potential-low maintenance — The days of being able to establish a career that spans decades based on one set of acquired skills has not existed for at least 30 years. In looking for employees with high potential, employers are looking for individuals who are open to change, flexible about work arrangements and responsibilities, willing to adapt, and who come in on time and work hard every day. Combining high potential and low maintenance is the formula for quick promotion and lots of opportunities. • Understand the big picture of insurance — Insurance is deceptively simple on the surface (premiums come in and claims go out) but incredibly complex in execution. To make an insurance business work, you need to mix customer service, risk assessment, loss prevention, loss assessment, sales, marketing and promotion, regulatory compliance, capital management, financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, political and legislative influence and an increasing exposure to global trends. Whether you are a broker, adjuster, underwriter or jack of all trades, the sooner you begin to see how it all works together, the sooner you move ahead in your career.
Prepare for the future While my thoughts on career building are aimed at the job-seeker, they should also be considered by any prospective employer. Big or small, if you can truthfully say you foster this kind of career-building environment, the race for next year’s star talent may not be as hard as you think. Career Centre is an excellent niche job board for job posters and seekers alike. Take advantage of member pricing at www.myinsurancejobs.ca.
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The Insurance Brokers Association of Durham Region’s recent Affiliate Achievement Award win continues to inspire both pride and a commitment to build on that success. BY ANGELA STELMAKOWICH
MEMBER SUPPORT There’s nothing wrong with a little sprucing up from time to time. The Insurance Brokers Association of Durham Region (IBADR) has long provided its members with educational offerings — a goal of which is to help brokers so that they, in turn, can best serve their customers. But the IBADR board, headed by president Gillian Van Kempen, thought a makeover was in order for its luncheon sessions to ensure even more brokers realized the benefits — both education and networking — of these sessions. So that is what board members set out to do, says Gillian, vice president of Best Buy Insurance Brokers Inc. in Ajax.
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The IBADR board made it a goal in 2013 to have senior industry leaders front and centre with member brokers, an opportunity those brokers may not otherwise have had. Among the luncheon speakers to date are Bob Tisdale, president and COO of Pembridge Insurance Company; Alister Campbell, CEO of The Guarantee Company of North America; Maurice Tulloch, past president and CEO of Aviva Canada; and Brigid Murphy, now president and CEO of Travelers Canada. And more high-profile speakers are coming up, like Jean-Francois Blais, president of Intact Insurance, and Greg Somerville, president and CEO of Aviva Canada. “It was really important to me to break down those walls a bit and show the next generation how approachable and how amazing the leaders in our industry are, and give them that face time with them,” Gillian says. By any measure, it has been a success. Luncheons used to attract an average of about 30 people; attendance at the recent sessions has been double or triple that. The success may have been one of the many things that tipped in IBADR’s favour when it was honoured with IBAO’s Affiliate Achievement Award. Gillian accepted the award on behalf of “some really wonderful people who pull off some really amazing things” at the 6th Annual Awards Gala, held last October as part of the 93rd Annual IBAO Convention. “It was a pretty amazing accolade to have received,” she says. Of course, IBADR received after giving plenty. Charitable efforts, she points out, is something at which Durham brokers, companies and affiliate partners excel. “We have such a great level of participation from all of the members out here, whether they’re the company personnel or some of our associate members,” Gillian says. “They’re so wonderful in participating in everything that we come up with.” And IBADR comes up with many charities and community events to support. Its annual golf tournament (which became a charitable event in 2012 and will mark its 48th anniversary this year), the annual curling bonspiel (now 26 years strong), Furry Friends 5K (in support of local pet shelters, as well as being a great family event), Brock’s Big Bite (tagged a festival of food and friends), Relay for Life (Oshawa), Grandview Children’s Foundation, the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre and the Durham Regional Police Service are among those. But it is not only for the community that the affiliate comes up large. “Even with a lot of brokerages merging and being
Photography by Simon Cheung
acquired, we still manage to hold steady on our membership numbers,” Gillian says. In fact, the affiliate increased its membership by two offices from 2012 to 2013. But staying on track demands care. Gillian’s hope is that the board will be able to poll members sometime in the next few months to gather feedback on how it is doing, what members would like IBADR to be doing over, say, the next five years, and to gauge member interest in getting involved.
It may also be worth looking at establishing some sort of an online forum, where members of different affiliates could post ideas that have (or have not) worked. “I’d like to think that the attendance at our events and the participation from our membership is an indication that we’re doing something right,” Gillian says. At the same time, if the board is somehow missing the mark, that is information that representatives want to have, she emphasizes. Gillian reports that IBADR used an online survey in December 2012 to call an election and appoint a new member to the board, and the response was encouraging.
Youth movement IBADR is further encouraged by the potential for younger brokers in the region, but they too need support. Pointing out that Young Brokers Council (YBC) membership is very high in Durham Region, she says plans are in the works for some joint IBADR/YBC events.
The idea is a mentorship-like social event, “kind of the YBC and, for lack of a better acronym, the OBC, the Old Brokers Council,” Gillian says, laughing. “I really want to get everyone co-mingling to some extent.” That co-mingling is key to not only pass along the knowledge that more experienced brokers have, but also to afford young brokers networking opportunities and to inspire their participation in the channel. Young brokers also need support in other ways, she says. Gillian notes that she wishes there was some way of creating a broker training program. “You come out of the RIBO exam certainly well-equipped with the theory of being a broker, but the actual technical know-how is elusive,” she suggests. “They need an opportunity to get the training to become a broker.” It may also be worth looking at establishing some sort of an online forum, where members of different affiliates could post ideas that have (or have not) worked so that everyone could benefit from the lessons learned, she suggests. Year after year, IBADR “exhausts its allotment for awareness days, often having to partner with other members’ offices to be able to promote the magenta blanket at additional events,” notes the affiliate’s nomination submission. “It would be really nice if there was an online forum where we could trade off on some of those ideas and make sure that all of the affiliates have the same success,” Gillian says. “Maybe that’s one of the other mandates that we work towards — reinforcing that the independent brokerage channel is certainly here to stay and look at all the amazing people we have behind us.” February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER 09
MEMBER BENEFITS Gus Pappas Benefits Coordinator BCI Inc.
An Eternal Love Letter The month of February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day. It is a day to both tell and show those who are closest to us how much we care. Flowers, chocolates, gifts, candle-lit dinners and perhaps even a love letter are all ways to say, “I love you.” Having been in the insurance industry for more than 28 years, however, I cannot help but be reminded of the greatest love letter that any of us could write to our families.
It is easy to dream and hope for the future, but ignoring the reality that things do not always go as planned can be catastrophic to any future plan. A love letter is a timeless way to express love and affection for another person; the mere act of putting thoughts to paper is profoundly romantic. A love letter often avows an
eternal commitment to care, protect and provide for another — and it shares goals, dreams and an undying promise to fulfill them. Unfortunately, life is not always as romantic as one would wish it to be. There are many obstacles and unforeseen challenges that can bring these dreams to a sudden halt. While often overlooked or avoided, life insurance is the love letter that will last an eternity — a selfless love letter to loved ones that will assure all of your dreams are fulfilled when you are no longer able to do so. My love letter to my family will allow my children to complete their education. My love letter will make sure that our debts will be paid. My love letter will ensure that my final expenses will be taken care of. My love letter will allow my family to remain in our home and have the peace of mind knowing that the bills will be paid. My love letter will let my family know that I still want to provide and care for them even after I am gone.
Hope... and planning In our fast-paced lives, the importance of planning has never been more important. It is easy to dream and hope for the future, but ignoring the reality that things do not always go as planned can be catastrophic to any future plan. Far too often, I see the struggles and financial stress caused when plans are not in place. People struggle with not knowing what to do, how to pay the bills or where to turn; families struggle with trying to make the right decisions
Planning should include a properly drafted will to inform those you leave behind how to handle your affairs. It should include a power of attorney to ensure your family can act for you when you cannot. and never truly knowing. While there never seems to be enough time or money to put our plans in place, the uncertainty of life begs the question: Can we afford not to? Today, everyone has access to many products and solutions to help — life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance and long-term care insurance. Employee benefit plans often provide the added flexibility to access additional benefits at lower costs. However, it is essential to note the type of plan is not as important as having a plan. Planning should include a properly drafted will to inform those you leave behind how to handle your affairs. It should include a POA, power of attorney, to ensure your family can act for you when you cannot. How long has it been since you last updated your will? Have you confirmed your beneficiary designations? When a person dies — and especially unexpectedly — the last act of love involves the legacy left behind. Will you leave your family in financial chaos? Or will your love letter provide peace and comfort long after the flowers have withered and the cards been put away? This Valentine’s Day, give your family a love letter that will last for an eternity, an everlasting gift of love and a commitment to those who mean the most to you. BCI is a trusted affinity partner of IBAO, and offers members a variety of group plans and support. For more information, contact Marie-José Comtois at 800-361-9773.
10 February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
ART OF CONVERSATION Stuart Knight President Stuart Knight Productions
Loving the “People Business”
and I want to give them my best. I have found that when we intentionally send love toward the people with whom we do business, we set ourselves up to get better results. Some colleagues, clients and customers drive you crazy, but try sending them a little love today. The second that you do is the second you start tapping into an energy that is available to all of us. You will be amazed how quickly things that can sabotage your ability to perform at your optimum levels are
eliminated and how easy it is to do business with others. For the best results in business, look at those around you and say the words, “I love you.” And remember… inner voice. Stuart Knight is an acclaimed author and speaker. Learn more at www.stuartknightproductions.com.
Take advantage of IBAO networking opportunities: YBC Conference June 11-13; IBAO Convention October 22-24, Westin & Ottawa Convention Centre.
Insurance is a “people business.” So try sending a little love to your clients and colleagues, and watch how it improves your business.
Let’s face it, love is a funny thing. There you are, single and talking to someone you find attractive. After a few hours of talking, you are both saying, “Weird, I feel like I’ve known you my entire life.” Fast forward a couple of years into the relationship and you are both gazing into each other’s eyes saying, “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know you.” Then 20 years later, you find yourself having an argument with that person and both are yelling, “I wish I never knew you!” Like I said, love is a funny thing. There are people who love their hockey team more than they love their job, little boys who love their bicycle more than they love their little sister, and Star Trek fans who love Captain Kirk more than they love themselves. Love is different for different people. But there is one form of love that is the same for all of us — our ability to love people. And when it comes to business, it is something that people should do more often. Call me cheesy, but before most of my keynote speeches, I look at the audience from the side and repeat the words, “I love you” over and over in my mind. Obviously, I do not love audience members the way that I love my family, but I do have love for them for the simple fact that we share planet Earth. The second I start performing this mantra, I feel my frustrations, fears, disappointments and anxieties go out the window. I am left with a strong sense of gratitude for my fellow citizens, February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
YBC SPOTLIGHT Meet the YBC Team The Young Brokers Council provides an avenue of expression for the energy and ideas of young leaders of the IBAO membership. Get to know the team leaders in your area!
David Elliott: Elliott Insurance Services YBC Chair Years in the biz: Almost 9 What keeps you up at night? Some may think I’m delusional, but I sleep very well at night. As a broker, I only see opportunities. What do you love about your job? Customer interaction. The most fulfilling aspect of the job is answering a claim call and being able to reassure an upset client. Best part of YBC? The people. The caliber of YBC members is amazing. I’ve been extremely lucky to build a network of intelligent, motivated individuals with a very diverse background of experiences.
Monica Dale: Dawson & Keenan Insurance Ltd. YBC President Years in the biz: 14 What do you love about your job? The relationships I build with clients, insurance company representatives and industry partners. Best part of YBC? The ability to discuss insurance-related issues with like-minded individuals in the hopes of promoting positive change in the industry. I knew when I attended my first YBC Conference that I would be in this industry for the rest of my career. 12 February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
Dwayne Gagne: G. Taylor & Associates YBC President-Elect & Territory 6 Leader Years in the biz: 13 Best part of YBC? Helping college students understand the broker world, especially when they come up to me afterwards and say, “Hey, you changed my mind. I’m considering being a broker now.” I also enjoy meeting other new young brokers and sharing our passion for the broker field. It’s great to help bring more people into our field and listen to their ideas on the industry. That fresh perspective is intriguing.
Natalie Piche: Lake of the Woods Insurance Territory 1 Team Leader Years in the biz: 9 What keeps you up at night? Definitely direct writers. With everything changing so fast, I want to be able to stay one step ahead and make sure that people understand the difference and quality that dealing with a broker brings them. Best part of YBC? The networking, meeting like-minded people, being able to learn from each other, and having that edge on being current in the industry.
Alanna Taylor: Kennedy Insurance Brokers Inc. Territory 2 Team Leader Years in the biz: 10 Best part of YBC? The most valuable reward I’ve received is confidence. Attending the annual conference and networking with young brokers, and participating at Hill Day in Ottawa with IBAC and Queen’s Park with IBAO sent me home with even more confidence as a young broker. Kennedy Insurance has encouraged and supported my position with YBC, and I would recommend encouraging your young brokers to get involved!
Ryan Purssell: Mink Insurance Services Ltd. Territory 3 Team Leader Years in the biz: 16 What do you love about your job? Definitely, sales. I love closing deals! What keeps you up at night? Mergers, acquisitions and direct writers all create uncertainty and keep us on our toes as brokers. Best part of YBC? Networking. I have so many more contacts since becoming active with the YBC. It is great sharing knowledge with other young brokers and having colleagues to compare ideas with.
Kristy Nicol: Carruthers Nicol Insurance Inc. Territory 4 Team Leader Years in the biz: 12 What keeps you up at night? After the recent storms we have experienced in my neck of the woods, changing weather patterns and how they will continue to influence pricing and availability of certain coverages currently offered to our clients. Best part of YBC? The opportunity to help shape the future of our industry for the next generation of brokers.
Jennifer Spafford: HUB International Ontario Ltd. Territory 5 Team Leader Years in the biz: 17 What do you love about your job? Helping my clients, especially when they are dealing with the stresses of a claim. This is very rewarding. What keeps you up at night? Home insurance rate increases and coverage limitations, especially sewer back-up coverage.
YBC SPOTLIGHT Danny Marceau: OTIP/RAEO Insurance Brokers Inc. Territory 7 Team Leader Years in the biz: 12 What do you love about your job? Customer Service is by far the best part of my job! Being part of our customer’s milestones, being relied on to guide them through difficult times, advocating on their behalf for what’s right, and having conversations about their unique needs and how I can meet them. To me that is what it is all about. There is nothing like it! What keeps you up at night? The hesitation and reluctance to change. For a lot of people, change can certainly be a scary thing. But if you embrace it, work with it — and not against it — change can be very rewarding!
Stephen Bortolon: Condotta Merrett & Co. Insurance Brokers Territory 8 Team Leader Years in the biz: Going into year 3 What do you love about your job? The ability to help people every day. Whether saving people money or educating them on up-and-coming insurance issues, it is a rewarding job. What keeps you up at night? Telematics, and how this will change the auto industry. Best part of YBC? I’ve had an amazing opportunity to meet CEOs of major insurance companies, who I might not have had the chance to meet at such an early stage of my career, had I not joined the YBC.
Christine Sbrocchi: The CG&B Group Inc. Territory 9 Team Leader Years in the biz: 20 plus, 13 as a broker What do you love about your job? Speaking to the clients and helping them better understand what they need. What keeps you up at night? Fraud. What is the answer to stop all these fraud claims?
Alex Guthrie: Guthrie Insurance Brokers Ltd. Territory 10 Team Leader Years in the biz: 6 What do you love about your job? Working for my father (the principal broker and owner of the family business), and having the opportunity to learn from his experience adds to the love I have for my job. Best part of YBC? I didn’t really know a lot about being an insurance broker when I first joined YBC. The YBC gave me a lot of direction and helped me to become the broker that I am today. I now keep an eye out for those who are new to the industry, and try to give them the answers they seek.
Greg Kruk: James W. Kloepfer Insurance Broker Ltd.,Territory 11 Team Leader Years in the biz: Started as a broker in 2004; worked on the company and brokerage sides since then. What keeps you up at night? Being proactive as a broker channel. To date, we have let the competitors (direct writers, banks and agencies) surpass us in terms of technology, client touch points and efficiencies. We need to do a better job of embracing technology and lowering the cost of doing business, while at the same time strike a balance in how we place our product.
Meagan MacDonald: Johnson Inc. Territory 12 Team Leader Years in the biz: 4.5 What do you love about your job? I love that the insurance industry is never dull and is always changing. The industry provides plenty of opportunities for growth and development. As a young broker, this is key to my future success! Best part of YBC? This is my first year as team lead for YBC and I am incredibly excited for this opportunity. I look forward to gaining insight on current issues and trends. My friends call me an insurance geek, and I’m not ashamed to say it is true!
Matthew Carr: Carr & Company Insurance Brokers Ltd. Territory 13 Team Leader Years in the biz: 6 What keeps you up at night? Succession and brokers selling off to insurance companies at ridiculous multiples. Best part of YBC? The networking — bar none! The ability for young brokers to interact with company execs, marketing reps and senior insurance personnel is invaluable, not to mention speaking with other young brokers who are often in the same position, or have gone through similar situations.
February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
TECHNOLOGY UPDATE Grant Patten Communications Specialist Centre for Study of Insurance Operations
Mobile Websites a Good Match for Smartphone Love Forty percent of insurance research time is spent on mobile devices and 25% of customers use mobile devices exclusively in their research before purchasing insurance, notes results of a 2013 study by Nielsen. Prospective clients could be searching online (using their mobile devices) for information about buying insurance. With a mobile website, this information can be made easily accessible, improving a brokerage’s brand promotion and making it more likely the potential client will contact the brokerage for a quote.
Embrace customers’ love of smartphones Tracy McDonald, president of Lake of the Woods Insurance in Kenora,
Ontario, implemented her brokerage’s mobile site back in 2008 after noticing the impact the mobile industry was having on consumers. “Especially if you’re trying to appeal to Generation Y, which does everything on their smartphones, it’s important to have a mobile website because that’s how they’re going to find you,” McDonald says. Similarly, Cory Young, chief operating officer at Ottawa-based Rhodes & Williams Insurance Brokers, had his brokerage’s mobile site implemented last August. Young added the mobile website construction to his brokerage’s strategic plan for 2013 after recognizing the importance of mobile in attracting new clients. “You should add the mobile website project to your strategic plan and set timelines for it because, that way, it will actually get done,” he advises. “Getting your mobile site built doesn’t have to be difficult. We used a third-party service to build ours, and there’s a ton of them out there,” Young suggests. When asked about the main reason he decided to implement a mobile website for the brokerage, he replied, “There are so many stats out there on the adoption rate of mobile. I saw one recently that projected smartphones will overtake desktops for Internet
“You should add the mobile website project to your strategic plan.” usage in 2014. So, clearly, the importance of mobile is just immense. Having a mobile site will increase customer satisfaction and sales because those prospects who are visiting our site on their phone will easily be able to do business with us through their preferred platform.” The Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) invites readers to visit the websites of these two brokerages using their mobile devices, and compare them to a site that is not optimized for mobile. Then ask yourself, which user experience is more likely to elicit favourable responses in retaining existing customers — and attracting new ones? Already have a mobile website? Let CSIO know about it by e-mailing us at email@example.com and your brokerage’s mobile site could be featured on CSIO.com. If you have any questions about mobile sites, or would like IBAO to recommend one of its trusted affinity partners, please contact us at 800-268-8845.
BROKERS – looking for markets for your specialty, niche and non-standard risks? Find them in the Insurance Marketer! www.insurancemarketer.com We’ve got you covered in the… Published annually in July by Canadian Underwriter magazine, the extremely popular Insurance Marketer is used daily by brokers across Canada. Both in-print and online at InsuranceMarketer.com, the Insurance Marketer is The Source to assist you in finding a market for even the most unique risk!
14 February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
COMMUNITY VIEW SLEEP WELL
SPLASH FOR STACEY In January 2013, Jason Stillar created the Make a Splash for Stacey foundation to honour his late wife. Registered as a not-for-profit organization with the Government of Ontario, the foundation has garnered wide community support and has raised almost $100,000 in just 11 months. In January, Aviva Canada announced the 10 grand prize winners of the 2013 Aviva Community Fund. Make a Splash for Stacey was the Broker Competition Grand Prize Winner. In memory of school teacher Stacey Stillar, the Town of Sundridge will build a splash pad suitable for people of all ages and free to all. Funding will allow the foundation to meet its timeline to have the splash pad up and running by Canada Day.
On January 31, members of the Hastings County Insurance Brokers Association took part in the 7th Annual Sleep Out! So Others Can Sleep In at Market Square in Belleville, Ontario. The event is meant to help raise both awareness and money for the homeless and at-risk individuals in the local area. Participants gathered at 7 p.m. on the last day of January and stayed out Left to right: Patti Middleton, Kelly McKinney, overnight until 7 a.m. the Holly Phillips (Bipper), Johanna Allen, Loris Clarke next morning. and Adam Woolfrey
GIFT OF CARING Staff for McNeil Insurance Brokerage in Dutton, Ontario recently donated care packages, as well as warm magenta blankets to support those receiving a helping hand from staff at Violence Against Women, Services Elgin County.
Left to right: Heather Collar, Bonnie Vowel and Liz Azevedo of McNeil Insurance Brokerage, and Liz Brown of Violence Against Women, Elgin
Left to right: Stephen Darling, Jason Darling, Jason Stillar and Jason’s and Stacey’s son, Hunter.
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February 2014 / THE ONTARIO BROKER
14-02-11 3:28 PM
IBAO School of Insurance EDUCATION FOR BROKERS BY BROKERS
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MARCH WEBINARS Social Media
Date I March 4 Time I 9:30 – 11:45 a.m. Accreditation I 2 Technical Hours Fee I $125 (group rates available)
Interested in learning how social media has changed the business landscape? Need to set up social media hubs but not sure how to start? The amazing growth in social media has allowed small and medium businesses to compete on a level playing field with major brands. Learn how each of the three major networks (LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook) can help you develop new prospects online and engage your current customers.
Understanding Residential Heating Systems including Wood Date I March 25 Time I 9:30 – 11:45 a.m. Accreditation I 2 Technical Hours Fee I $125 (group rates available)
Learn about residential heating fuels and appliances, including any related safety risks. Develop the knowledge needed to perform front-line underwriting duties and confidently explain insurance concerns to clients.
Scoop on Sewer Back-up Date I March 25 Time I 2:00 – 4:15 p.m. Accreditation I 2 Technical Hours Fee I $125 (group rates available)
Examine insurance policy wordings, discover which forms of water damage are insurable and which are not, learn risk mitigation techniques and discuss the broker’s obligation to the customer as it relates to coverage and post-loss customer service.
Understanding Residential Plumbing and Electrical Systems Date I March 27 Time I 9:30 – 11:45 a.m. Accreditation I 2 Technical Hours Fee I $125 (group rates available)
Learn about residential plumbing and electrical systems, including the concerns with galvanized plumbing; aluminum, knob and tube wiring; and 60-amp electrical panels. Participants will gain the knowledge and skills needed to perform front-line underwriting duties and help clients understand the personal safety benefits of updating these critical residential building components.
RIBO Basic Broker I Level 1 Licensing Date I March 17 – 28 Time I 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Location I IBAO Toronto Fee I $615 (includes materials) I $25 Admin Fee for
The most effective approach to prepare for the RIBO Level 1 Licensing exam. Materials available at Orientation Day (March 4 at IBAO Toronto) or sent the week prior to the two-week course.
Basic Broker I Weekend Warrior Date I March 29 – 30 Time I 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Location I IBAO Toronto Fee I $800 (includes materials) I $25 Admin Fee for Non-Members
Combines the beneifts of classroom facilitation with the flexibility of weekend training. Specifically designed for individuals who are unavailable for weekday training, this format allows participants to complete the Basic Broker program over three consecutive weekends.