November 25, 2013 by Regan Reid
PROFIT 500 Rank: 455
Five-year growth percentage: 73
Managing Director: Nav Bhinder
In 1995, Raghbir Bhinder purchased a largely personal-lines brokerage with one office in Vancouver, BC. Nav Bhinder, Raghbir’s son and the current managing director of Gold Key, says his father quickly recognized an opportunity for expansion in nearby Surrey, and opened a branch in the growing city. The population of Surrey has grown from more than 385,000 people in 2002 to 492,000 in 2012, and the city’s growth is expected to continue. According to the City of Surrey, more than 600,000 people are expected to live in the city by 2026, and more than 800,000 by 2046. Based on these projections, the City estimates that one in four residents of the metro Vancouver area will live in Surrey by 2046. It is this growth that Gold Key is capitalizing on. Within the last five years, the company has seen 73% revenue growth. “Surrey has been a growing, prosperous place for the last 20 years. There is a lot of development, a lot of new business and a lot of people moving here,” says Bhinder. “We’ve developed around that growth that’s been happening in Surrey.”
Gold Key has also specifically focused on a few key niches to realize its growth. “I think being specialized and confident in certain types of business and having staff that are experienced to sell that type of business is an advantage for any company.” One of Gold Key’s areas of expertise is motor truck cargo insurance. Bhinder says the firm handles a few hundred fleets, including some of the large transport companies in BC. Bhinder attributes his brokerage’s success in this area to his staff. “[The team has] quite a bit of experience, class knowledge and lots of connections. They know exactly what to do and how to advise the client,” he says.
So how did a small, initially personal-lines brokerage attract large trucking companies as clients? Aside from assembling the right team, Bhinder says his company targets its marketing toward the trucking community, sets up booths at trucking shows and has worked to develop a positive reputation. “We have good relationships with those companies. Word of mouth spreads from one company to another—whether it’s a manufacturer or trailer, or auto body shop, or other company that is related to transport. We have a good strong name in that community.”
The brokerage also has a strong presence in the Indian community. “There are a lot of Indian people [in Surrey]. That is a large chunk of our clientele,” says Bhinder. “We’re specialized in dealing with Indian companies and people, and giving service in their languages.” Gold Key’s website says it provides customer service in Urdu, Farsi, Punjabi and Hindi, as well as in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Though the company has experienced significant growth in recent years, as a family business, Bhinder says the brokerage has moderate future growth targets. “We’re taking growth one step at a time and [want to] still be able to service our current client base,” he says. “We’re in the industry to service a niche clientele and we just want to do that well.” Bhinder says that Gold Key is not looking to acquire any brokerages or open any new offices in the near future. For the time being, the brokerage is focusing on better servicing its existing clients by developing its online portal and utilizing technology to improve efficiencies.
Copyright 2013 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the November 2013 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.