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Canadian Connections

The Canadian Broker Network is a tight-knit group of like-minded broker owners that help each other achieve business success

Lee Rogers, president, Rogers Insurance

Rogers Insurance Ltd.

Established: 1977

Location(s): Calgary

Annual premiums: $140 million

CBN member: 8 years

Ranked among Alberta’s top 25 employers for the last several years by Mediacorp Canada, Rogers Insurance Ltd. remains focused on it’s

employees and making the independent brokerage a great workplace.

Founded in 1977 by Peter Rogers, who is now chairman, the brokerage offers staff a shared ownership plan so they have a vested interest in the company, says Lee Rogers, president of Rogers Insurance.

Additionally, the firm’s annual Employee Dreams Program further motivates staff. Each employee can submit a dream they want to pursue. The brokerage finances the winning dreams and provides whatever infrastructure and support is required to accomplish them. Rogers Insurance has awarded three dreams per year for the past three years, but this year has decided to award four.

For example, in the past, one employee wanted to take her kids to Disney World, and another employee wanted significant dental work.

“They pursued that once they were awarded their dream and they haven’t stopped smiling since,” says Rogers.

The firm is very supportive in professional development of staff.

“We will support any staff member as it relates to extra curricular education they want to pursue,” says Rogers. “We do in-house seminars, bring in guest speakers and look for any opportunities that we can to provide access to business coaches, different leadership or industry training seminars.”

The brokerage’s ability to offer employees shared ownership, professional development and the Dreams Program, as well as charitable efforts allow it to be a better organization for employees and clients, adds Rogers. 

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CMW Insurance Services Ltd.

Established: 1994

Location(s): Burnaby, BC

Annual premiums: $62 million

CBN member: 5 years

CMW Insurance Services Ltd. is one brokerage that defies the norm. While some independent businesses face the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff, this is not the case for this West Coast firm.

President Andrew Kemp says that while having people approach them for work is definitely an accomplishment, it’s also a challenge.

“We used to spend a lot of time to seek people to work for us, but in the last two years we’ve seen people approaching us,” he says. “Hiring and staff retention is not a problem. The challenge is to continue rapid growth in order to support the addition of quality individuals to CMW.”

The company, which was established by two partners in 1994, has experienced 10% growth in employees in the last year. Currently, CMW Insurance Services employs 65 people and has 17 employee owners.

“We want to continue in the process of becoming an employee-owned organization while we build the commercial business,” says Kemp, who joined the firm in 2004.

Kemp attributes the firm’s success to hiring the right people and encouraging staff to continue their professional development. CMW University is a program the company offers once a month. The firm brings in insurance experts to educate staff through various sessions.

One of the company’s current challenges is consolidation in the insurance industry, which is giving clients less choice. CMW Insurance Services overcomes this by working harder and improving their services in order to keep clients happy.

“We believe in being involved in our clients businesses,” says Kemp. “All our account managers are involved and active in the industries and associations that we provide services in.”

The long term goal for CMW Insurance Services is to grow to $100 million in premiums. Kemp says he hopes to get there by offering additional services, adding to employee ownership and attracting the right employees.

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Capri Insurance

Established: 1975

Location(s): Several in the BC Interior and, Aurora, Ont.

Annual premiums: undisclosed

CBN member: 4 years

Capri Insurance and its affiliates serve 100,000 clients with over 315 people in 11 offices throughout British Columbia and one in Ontario. The company’s strategy is to distinguish itself in the eyes of its clients, and it does this by exceeding expectations through innovative solutions, professional service and sound advice to meet their needs.

“Capri Insurance’s service and support teams are at the forefront of this effort,” says Tim Miller, CFO/COO of Capri Insurance. “We have a competitive yet familiar culture where success is being rewarded and people are encouraged to achieve at their potential. As a result, we have some fantastic performance from our people who genuinely care about our customers.”

Miller adds that if you get the basic building blocks in place and create an environment and culture where exceptional people can perform exceptionally well, you get exceptional results.

“The reason employees are engaged and committed to the business is because their colleagues and peers want them to succeed and are always willing to offer assistance.”

Management’s job is to create the right environment, which includes defining the overall objectives of the firm, open and consistent communication, acquiring and deploying the resources staff need to serve clients, and continuously enhancing the firm’s capabilities through ongoing professional development.

“You don’t motivate people, but you can create an environment for motivated people to succeed, and that’s what we do,” he says. “There are no limits for someone who is motivated to work.”

Click here to read about Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers Ltd., Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd. and Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

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