Cheryl Hebb began her career at Northbridge as an underwriter for small business when Northbridge first brought in their small-business offering, just over six years ago. Since then, the small business team has grown and maintained that book of business profitably by providing fast, friendly, fair service to their broker partners.
Hebb’s more than 30-year career in the insurance world began as a receptionist for a small brokerage. She worked for several different brokerages in a short period of time, before becoming a personal lines underwriter at Zurich Insurance in the 1980s, before leaving to raise a family. She was lured back into the insurance industry, again on the broker side, as an account manager, before becoming a partner and commercial manager. Hebb’s broker experience taught her about the challenges that brokers face, which she says helped her form the relationships she has today.
Says Cheryl of her award: “I am humbled and honoured that I am being recognized by Canadian Broker Network (CBN). Having a great team and mentors makes this job easier and I owe part of this honour to them. There has been a great long-standing working relationship between CBN and Northbridge regionally. I am thankful for the relationships that have been built by everyone on both teams as that has made the day-to-day conversations easier. The brokers at CBN in the Atlantic region are always easy to talk to and a lot of fun. That makes everyone’s job easier!”
Q: What is the biggest challenge for underwriters in P&C currently, and what’s one thing that underwriters/insurers can do to overcome this challenge? “Every industry is facing challenges right now – whether because of inflation, supply chain issues, labour shortages, or other factors. I think one of the biggest challenges for an underwriter today is figuring out how we can best support our brokers and customers during times of uncertainty and help them navigate the pressures their businesses are facing.”
Q: What’s one opportunity you think underwriters should focus on more in today’s marketplace? “We all have our niche. We need to focus on what we’re good at. Learn about new initiatives, become experts at those, and then flourish.”
Q: What makes for a great working relationship between an underwriter and broker? “Insurance really is a relationship-based industry. People want to deal with people they know, like and trust. The underwriter-and-broker partnership is built on trust. Underwriters trust brokers to send in great business. Brokers trust underwriters to provide the best service and product to them in return. We know our product and therefore, we are their resource when they have questions. We work together to find the coverage that is best suited for our insureds. Sometimes those conversations can be tough, but those tough conversations are much easier when that relationship exists.”
Q: Why did you become an underwriter, and what do you love most about it? “I love being an underwriter, especially in small business. It is fast-paced and there is something new every day, sometimes several times a day! I learn so much about all different trades and businesses as each risk is unique. I like the discussions I have, and the relationships built with my brokers, both personally and professionally.”