Canadian Underwriter

IBAO president-elect urges members to mentor young brokers

October 27, 2017   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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Experienced brokers should act as mentors to young workers entering the profession and local affiliates of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario need to have programs to help recruit high school and post-secondary students into the business, IBAO president-elect Brian Purcell suggested Thursday.

“In our industry, we have many young brokers with a fresh outlook on our business, contemporary skill sets and a burning desire to succeed,” Purcell said during a speech at the IBAO Convention in Ottawa, which wraps up Thursday.

Purcell volunteers for the local fire department in the community of Spencerville. When he took to the stage Thursday at the Shaw Convention Centre in Ottawa, Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash played in the background.

“Some people know me as a firefighter nicknamed Smokey,” said Purcell, who takes over in 2018 as IBAO president from Traci Boland. Purcell – along with his wife and father – is a co-owner of the brokerage his father founded – James Purcell Insurance Brokers Ltd. – in Spencerville, north of Prescott.

“Everyone has a fire deep down inside them,” Purcell said. “It may not always be visible but when that fire is fed properly, you can see and feel that fire grow. Consider the fuel as the desires within the different stakeholders within our industry. Our consumers, our communities and our young brokers.”

Young insurance brokers “want to be engaged, valued and appreciated and many want to be the leaders and influencers in our business,” said Purcell, a former chair of the Young Brokers Council. “As experienced brokers, it is incumbent upon us to mentor and to engage these young brokers. Mentoring closes the generation gap and transfers knowledge and expertise. And it also improves employee retention”

The IBAO provides “fuel to these young brokers to get their career burning,” Purcell said, noting IBAO provides education and opportunities to volunteer.

Local affiliates of the IBAO are “always in need of volunteers and the success of our association is dependent upon the affiliates and the members,” Purcell told IBAO members at the convention. “Affiliates also need to provide for their members in that affiliate. They need to provide information meetings, education opportunities, programs for recruiting high school and post secondary students and also grassroots contacts with their MPs and MPPs.”

Purcell urged members to volunteer and become “engaged” in their communities.

“Brokers should encourage staff to become active as well,” he said. “It’s one thing to just write a cheque to support a group or an event. But your visibility is far greater by actually being involved.”

More coverage of the 2017 IBAO Convention

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Getting younger people into broker channel as a career remains challenging: incoming IBAO president