Canadian Connections

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

Brian Scott, president, Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Established: 1969

Location(s): Ottawa

Annual premiums: $30 million

CBN member: 7 years

Being awarded $25,000 through this year’s Aviva Community Fund was a great accomplishment for Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers Ltd. (SPCS).

Each year the Aviva Community Fund encourages individuals to submit ideas that will improve their community, and SPCS’s idea to provide a computer-based learning centre for The Well – La Source, a centre that offers a day program for women and women with children, was a winner. SPCS pledged the funds to the charity and also went one step further by having staff clear space and paint the room for the new centre.

Community involvement is very important for this Ottawa brokerage, one of the largest locally owned with 40 employees.

“It offers the community a helping hand, while also providing an opportunity to market the firm,” says Brian Scott, president of SPCS. “I think our charity work raises our profile quite dramatically and we encourage it in a big way.”

SPCS has developed an internal charity committee that reviews all opportunities for community involvement and charitable contribution.

Earlier this year, SPCS employees laced up their sneakers for the Ottawa Race Weekend to support the YMCA-YWCA. The brokerage also competed in the YMCA-YWCA Corporate Challenge in June 2011, which included events such as The Coffee Run, the Briefcase Toss and Cardio Pictionary. Additionally, SPCS hosted a summer BBQ for all of the tenants in the building where their office is located.

Finding and hiring staff is challenging at SPCS. “While we have exceptional support staff in our office, one of our ongoing challenges is finding even more great producers to help grow the business,” says Scott.

SPCS deals with this by casting a wider net and often hiring producers from outside the insurance industry.

“It’s about broadening our scope to get sales people and sales management from outside the industry to bring fresh ideas to the table.”


Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Established: 1982

Location(s): Hamilton, Ont.

Annual premiums: $60 million

CBN member: 9 years

A multi-disciplined firm with specialist brokers and consultants is what sets Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd. apart from its competitors. The brokerage offers a variety of products and services, including credit insurance, financial services, HR consulting, commercial and personal lines, and each sector is broken down into specific niches with expert staff. For example, in personal lines there are employees who work specifically with high net worth clients.

“We have people who only do defined commercial sectors, employee benefits, pension work, or life insurance,” explains Dan Lawrie, president and CEO of the firm. “This way they know the sector, the main players and have the expertise to bring specialized solutions to our clients.”

“Employees in all departments are encouraged through incentives and bonuses to cross-sell and refer clients to other departments,” adds vice president Bob Lawrie.

“This has always been a part of the company’s culture because we’re multi-disciplined,” says Dan Lawrie, who started the brokerage from scratch in 1982. “We want to bring our clients as much value as possible so that we can form deeper relationships with them.”

A marketing strategy that plays on the firm’s strength of being multi-disciplined has been very successful. Producers network with trade associations in the specific sectors they specialize in, and this along with strong community involvement solidifies the Dan Lawrie brand. 

For example, we have two people in our organization who specialize in solutions for technology companies,” says Dan Lawrie. “So they’re in groups with other professionals that also deal specifically in technology. They get the chance to connect, talk the same language, know the players and this can really help develop business.”


Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

Established: 1941

Location(s): Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Alta.

Annual premiums: $115 million

CBN member: 9 years

Lloyd Sadd is one of the oldest independently owned brokerages of its size in Canada, and it comes with a true success story. The firm was passed down from father to son through three generations.

Today, T. Marshall Sadd stands as president and CEO of Lloyd Sadd, but it was his grandfather that initially launched the business. A background in adjusting, he moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton to establish the brokerage in the 1940s. Eventually, it was succeeded to Sadd’s father, and Sadd joined the firm in the early 1990s before taking over in 1999.

He has grown the company from 23 employees in 1999 to 110 today with over $115 million in premiums. Almost 95% of Lloyd Sadd’s clients are commercial business owners in specialty industries including construction, manufacturing, energy, public entity, transportation and hospitality, and it is these sectors that Sadd continues to focus on.

“We are the outsourced risk manager for Alberta-based entrepreneurial businesses in those sectors,” he says. “We aren’t looking for businesses with risk management departments. We’re focused on the mid-to-large markets and offer services to help our clients reduce their costs of risk through loss control, claims advocacy and fleet safety.”

Earlier this year the company set up shop in Calgary through an acquisition of another brokerage.

“The producer was looking for an opportunity and he and his team wanted a change,” explains Sadd. “We were the right fit for them. We brought the expertise, resources and credibility that he was looking to partner up with.”

The new location has been branded under the Lloyd Sadd umbrella. It is led by Paul Constance, former executive vice president at Renfrew Insurance Ltd., who will help build Lloyd Sadd’s client base in the energy sector.

Sadd adds an ongoing challenge when you become an independent brokerage of this size is keeping the entrepreneurial spirit and culture alive. Balancing independence with corporate procedures is something he continues to focus on.

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