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IBAO updates awards program to salute community leadership during the pandemic


July 30, 2020   by David Gambrill


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Shortly after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic, when Canadian P&C insurance industry employees first started to work from home remotely to avoid the spread of the virus, Canadian Underwriter asked brokers in a poll to describe acts of leadership or compassion they had witnessed.

“One of our staff went to [visit a] 91-year-old [at a] ladies’ home to get her cheque for her insurance,” one broker in the survey recounted. “She expressed she had called seniors’ help line, as she had no groceries. She gave our staff member money and her list, and he went and bought her groceries for her.”

In a different example (and not part of the survey), the Lawrie Insurance Group in Ontario is donating $20 to the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation (HHSF) for every home and auto insurance quote requested by a Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation (HHSF) donor, Hamilton Health Sciences employee, or member of the general public. The goal is to support community health care during the pandemic.

Whether these “random acts of kindness” be big or small, corporate or individual, brokers and brokerages have been working double time to promote the welfare of their communities since the pandemic outbreak. And now the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) has re-engineered its Awards of Excellence program to acknowledge brokers’ extraordinary contributions this past year.

Traditionally a multi-category awards program based on growth and performance, this year’s program will recognize individual IBAO member brokers who have contributed to their communities in meaningful ways.

“With everything that’s happened, and with everything that continues to change, we’re doing something different to celebrate Ontario brokers this year,” said IBAO president Joseph Carnevale in a statement announcing the award program update. “It’s been incredible to watch brokers transition their business delivery models, work with their markets to make sure consumers are receiving the relief and support they need, and then go above and beyond for their clients, local businesses, and communities in so many ways. These are the brokers and stories we want to highlight this year.”

IBAO’s Awards of Excellence program typically awards Brokerage of the Year, Young Broker of the Year, Affiliate of the Year, and Innovation of the Year. This year, it is moving to a single category — the Community Leadership Award — to recognize individual insurance brokers who have contributed to their communities through support of local organizations or causes, unparalleled service and/or support, volunteer efforts, financial contribution, outstanding expertise or compassion beyond normal expectation.

“We’ve seen brokers put a lot of generosity, compassion and creativity into their response to the crisis,” said IBAO marketing and communications director Norah Black. “Community Leader recognition, awarded to an unlimited number of brokers, is a way of celebrating all of that incredibly important work.”

Another change this year is the move to peer nomination. Brokers can nominate any individual IBAO member broker they feel has had an impact on local businesses, causes and/or communities in 2020. Brokers can also be nominated by the clients or organizations they’ve helped.

Winners will be announced at IBAO’s Virtual Convention October 21–22, with ongoing recognition into 2021.