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Lowes Fund breakfast will mark a special anniversary

Q&A with Insurance Institute of Canada president Peter Hohman

The John E. Lowes Insurance Education Fund is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The annual fundraising breakfast on October 30 will mark two decades of the Insurance Institute of Canada’s (IIC) efforts to support individuals working toward a career in the property and casualty insurance industry.

See also: Pan-Am Games CEO to speak at Lowes Fund Breakfast

Canadian Insurance Top Broker spoke to Peter Hohman, CEO of the IIC, about the significance of this anniversary.

How did the Lowes fund get started?
The John E. Lowes Insurance Education Fund was established as a charitable organization in 1992, and awarded its first scholarship to Ontario students in 1993. The annual breakfasts were started in 1994 as fundraisers for the Lowes scholarship fund.

The fund is named after John E. Lowes, BA, FIIC, CIB (Ontario), a founding partner of Irwin, Sargent & Lowes Insurance Brokers in Peterborough, Ont., and a founding member of the Kawartha chapter of the Insurance Institute of Ontario. He was one of its original evening class instructors. Lowes went onto become chairman of the board of governors of the Insurance Institute of Canada, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and president of the Insurance Institute of Ontario.

Read: Past Lowes Fund Breakfast coverage–former Toronto mayor David Miller on cities and climate change

John Lowes was a lifelong supporter of education. This foundation is a tribute to his continuing dedication to professionalism in the P&C insurance industry.

How do you generate money to keep the fund going?
The Lowes Fund Breakfast is our main fundraising event–all proceeds go to the fund, itself.

Local institutes and chapters also raise money for the fund through events held throughout the year. The GTA chapter, for example, holds a fundraising golf event with proceeds of a draw at that tournament dedicated to the Lowes Fund.

Read: Are insurance industry demographics shifting?

We introduced a contributor’s program last year. A company or a person can contribute directly to the fund or donate an amount dedicated to a specific scholarship. Instead of taking money out of the fund for a scholarship, the donations from the contributor’s program can be directly allocated to one of the scholarships given out that year.

How do you select recipients and how do they benefit?
Scholarship money helps offset tuition costs of students. Scholarships can be the difference between students writing their CIP exams as well as college exams, as opposed to writing just their college exams.

Recipients are determined on the basis of ability, merit and community service. By choosing to attend one of the P&C insurance programs offered by colleges and universities, they are demonstrating a commitment to join the industry. The scholarships help reinforce that choice.

What are you doing that’s special for the 20th anniversary?
We kicked off the 20th anniversary year at last year’s breakfast by acknowledging past scholarship recipients and past chairs of the trustees were acknowledged at the event.

Leading up to the 20th anniversary, the amounts of the scholarships were increased by $500 per scholarship. This year, university level scholarships are worth $2,500 each and college level scholarships are worth $1,500 each.

Read: Recruiting career changers to the insurance industry

We are departing from tradition somewhat in honour of our 20th anniversary of the Lowes Fund Breakfast. Typically our emcee for the actual event is the chair of the John E. Lowes board of trustees. This year, we are having Donna Ince, the president of the Insurance Institute of Ontario, act as our emcee.

We also introduced the contributor’s program in anticipation of the 20th anniversary, so people will be able to have more control over where their donations end up–they can now support scholarships directly, for example.

Long-term we hope to sustain and grow the fund to continue to bring more members to the P&C industry by helping to finance their education.

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