From consolidation to digitization, emerging risks to increasing customer expectations – there’s a lot of pressure on independent brokers to sell these days. Joining the Canadian Broker Network means you don’t have to sell to de-risk…
As Canada emerges from a global pandemic, increased M&A activity and consolidation, accelerated digitization, emerging risks and ever-increasing customer expectations are placing brokers under unprecedented stress to sell.
“COVID-19 has amplified M&A activity in a hard market and consolidators are making giant strides in setting up shop in every part of Canada,” says Jeff LeGrow, chairman and founder of Cal LeGrow Insurance and Financial Group, Atlantic Canada’s largest independent commercial insurance broker. “Brokers who want to stay independent are realising they can’t go it alone.”
Thankfully, the Canadian Broker Network (CBN) – the largest nationwide network of independently owned brokers representing more than $2 billion in property & casualty premiums – offers brokers who are just as invested in the future of the independent broker channel as they are, the opportunity to remain independent and gain the economy of scale needed to compete in today’s marketplace.
Joining CBN has offered LeGrow the chance to continue operating independently with the advantage of having the clout of a large national brokerage, he says. He became a member of CBN in the fall of 2016 and is its current vice-chairman.
“We believe brokers who are independently owned, employee-owned and embedded in their communities with the market influence and scale that the network brings, should be able to win against anyone.”
Value of collaboration
For Vincent Gaudreau, Vice-President of Gaudreau Insurance, joining CBN was his “best viable option” to secure the future independent growth of the $60 million strong brokerage he has just taken over from his father.
Selling the business his father founded 20 years ago and that he helped build to triple its volume within the last five, was just not an option.
As former president of the RCCAQ, Quebec’s provincial broker’s association, Gaudreau was well connected within the local industry. However, tapping into the different perspectives, expertise and markets of his CBN peers across the country has already proven beneficial, he says. Joining CBN during a pandemic, in particular, has seen his brokerage gain HR support and collaborate on complex business development and other ventures in uncertain times.
Proudly Canadian, fiercely independent
CBN has come a long way since Bruce Rabik, chief operating officer of Rogers Insurance, founded the network in 2002.
Today, CBN is the largest leading network of independent brokers in Canada boasting many collaborative successes, including the creation of Bullfrog Insurance, Canada’s first digital commercial brokerage.
“CBN’s business model is unique in the Canadian marketplace,” Rabik says. “We’re 100% proudly Canadian and, unlike other large brokerage organizations, not backed by private equity or owned by insurance companies. That means decision-making remains with independent broker members, many of whom are employee-owned. On average, we believe CBN outperforms the industry on organic growth each year.”
It’s not CBN’s mandate to buy up brokerages but rather to encourage the success of what it coins a ‘fiercely independent’ broker channel, says Lorie Phair, president of CBN.
And with the recent passage of Bill C-208, which now makes it even easier for broker principals to keep their business in the family, CBN is well-positioned to help brokers succeed to family members and help them secure their independent future.
“Given the current climate of massive change, consolidation, a drive towards digitization and a war on talent, it’s important for brokers to know they don’t have to sell to de-risk”, she adds. “If, at a future point in time, a CBN member is thinking about a partial sale or complete succession solution, they’re already in a network of peers that can support that.”
CBN’s strategic priority is growing its membership with successful independent brokerages who are invested in the future of their own business, Phair says. In turn, members not only remain independent and gain scale, but also benefit through collaboration, shared resources and drawing on the strength of all levels of the organization across the country.
“We’re also invested in maximizing insurer relationships, developing unique market offerings, technology and data sharing, benchmark research, marketing and HR support, strategic partnerships and enabling real-time communication between members,” Phair said. “If you’re thinking about the next steps in securing your broker’s future, there’s no better time to get involved in a network that’s just as invested in your growth as you are.”
*If you think your brokerage is a fit and would like to learn more about the opportunities at Canadian Broker Network, reach out to Lorie Phair at firstname.lastname@example.org.