From humble beginnings 20 years ago, to becoming Canada’s largest network of independent brokers today – with more than 100 offices, 2 000 employees and over $2 billion in property casualty premiums – Canadian Broker Network (CBN) has always had the success of the independent broker at heart.
“Twenty years ago, staying competitive was challenging if you wanted to remain an independent broker, and as a result many brokers started selling to de-risk,” recalls Bruce Rabik, CBN co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Rogers Insurance. “We understood that, in order to support the future of independent brokers, we needed a larger presence and that there is great value and strength in numbers.”
In September 2002, Rogers Insurance came together with the Lawrie Insurance Group and Smith Petrie Carr & Scott Insurance to form a best practice sharing group with a mission to support each other as trusted partners and a promise to remain fiercely independent and proudly Canadian.
Today, CBN celebrates the strides it has made towards forming an alliance of top performing independent, employee-owned brokers who go beyond sharing best practices, to sharing expertise and connections to help each member innovate, grow and succeed, together.
“Looking back, today the founding members – all our members – can take great pride in having spent the past two decades nurturing and growing the independent broker channel,” says Dan Lawrie, Chairman and Founder of Lawrie Insurance Group. “Through CBN’s guiding principles of innovation, collaboration and commitment to growth, our members will continue to leverage the tremendous value of independence into the best possible value propositions for insurance customers, employees and insurer partners.”
A lot has changed in 20 years, adds Andrew Kemp, CBN Chairman and President of CapriCMW Insurance. “But one thing has remained the same: CBN is a true home for Canadian independent brokers to come together, invest in their future and continue having our clients’ best interests at heart.”
One of the things Kemp has found most valuable over the past 20 years and continues to value, is how CBN has always managed to stay ahead of the industry and at the forefront of technology and innovation, he adds.
“Whether it’s starting Bullfrog Insurance, the first online commercial insurance broker in Canada, or acquiring the MGA South Western Group ten years ago, propelling the network’s footprint into wholesale at the time – we’ve always had success working together,” Kemp says.
For Yan Charbonneau, President and CEO of Quebec-based Synex Group, joining CBN wasn’t only about how they would improve customer service whilst still remaining independent, but also about tapping into the support from a group of peers that’s as invested in the success of his business than he is.
“At CBN, it’s about complimenting each other rather than competing,” he says. “The magic of CBN is that we make each other better brokers and better business professionals, bringing more value to our clients. At the end of the day, it’s Canadian insurance customers who benefit the most.”
The CBN employee-owned model offers independent brokers who are invested in their businesses, access to the scale and support they need to secure their future success, including programs, services and enhanced capabilities that improve members’ competitive position.
“CBN is so much larger than when we first started; better equipping us to be the best of both worlds for our clients: offering wholly unbiased advice on one side, and having the backing of a national organization with global resources and real bargaining power on the other,” says Rabik.
“And we are just getting started,” adds Lorie Phair, CBN President.
“No other network is as invested in the growth and future of the Canadian independent broker channel as we are. We’re proudly leading the way through the disruption our industry is facing. We’re finding and creating opportunities that arm our members with the tools, resources and industry intel they need to compete. And we’re doing it together,” Phair says. “Our vision remains today as it was then: that we believe the independent broker model delivers the best value to our clients and our communities.”
Of course, CBN recognizes it hasn’t gotten here without support. “We are so grateful to all our members and industry partners for their commitment over the last two decades to making CBN what it is today,” Kemp says. “We are proud of our collective accomplishments, and we are confident for the future as we step into our third decade.”
CBN is expanding and we are now welcoming new members. If you’re an independent broker and would like to learn more or wish to see a list of our current members, visit us at: www.canadianbrokernetwork.com