Jeff Bear, the CEO of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO), was honoured for his more than 30 years of service with the self-regulatory body at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Convention 2015 in downtown Toronto on Wednesday.
Bear (pictured below right), who will be retiring at the end of the year after serving RIBO’s membership for nearly 32 of its 34 years, initially served as legal counsel, before becoming CEO in 1995, attendees to the IBAO Convention heard.
“He leads a strong and dedicated staff, instilling in them a customer service ethic that treats the public and brokers with respect and sensitivity,” said Traci Boland, vice president, IBAO, during the convention’s Education Awards Ceremony at the Sheraton Centre.
“He carefully oversees RIBO’s finances, aiming to spend the members’ money wisely and with a view to future efficiencies,” Boland continued. “For brokers seeking guidance and direction, his door his always open. He offers that same guidance and direction to the RIBO council.”
Valedictorian of the 2014-2015 graduating Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) class, Ruth-Ann Marie Kirkby of Orr Insurance, also spoke at the Education Awards Ceremony. Kirkby told convention attendees that she “stumbled upon insurance” after looking for an economics program at London, Ont.-based Fanshawe College. Kirkby – who has completed her General Insurance Essentials, Chartered Insurance Professional, Associate Customer Service and CAIB designations – said her education “led not only to a job in insurance, but a career in the insurance industry.”
“The teachings have been tailored and incredibly relevant to my day job,” she added. “These skills have taught me to understand and express empathy, be an active listener, be a critical thinker to solve problems and to expand my product knowledge, so that I can truly play the role as an advocate for the consumer.”
Kirkby (pictured left) noted that education from the IBAO, including teleconferences and online practice tests, has helped her understand other areas of the insurance industry and be able to learn from a distance, which is helpful as she lives in a rural community.
The ceremony also presented the 2014-2015 graduating CAIB class; the individual who achieved the Canadian Professional Insurance Broker designation; top students from the two-week basic broker courses held at the IBAO; the eight brokerages participating in the Beyond Best in Class education program; and the two IBAO scholarships – the Young Brokers Council Scholarship and the Past Presidents Scholarship.
The IBAO Convention 2015 runs until Friday.