By Brendan Wycks
(reprinted with permission, published in ci � Canadian Insurance magazine, June 2002)
With a new strategic plan just completed, the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada has mapped
out a clear direction towards its Vision 2005: A state in which the property and casualty insurance broker
distribution system, influenced by IBAC�s proactive efforts, continues to thrive within the legislative and
regulatory environment, and Canadians recognize IBAC member association brokers as the most trusted and competent
Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, our new strategic plan reaffirms the soundness and
appropriateness of our national board of directors structure, related governance processes and procedures, and
key areas of activity.
The reaffirmation of our core approaches and activities reflects the fact that IBAC is a
federation of provincial/regional member associations, which have united in common cause for the betterment of
their member brokers. IBAC enables Canadian p&c brokers, through a pooling of resources, to achieve national
and international aims cost-effectively.
By way of background, IBAC�s members are the 11 provincial/regional p&c brokers associations
across Canada (the 10 provinces plus the Toronto Insurance Conference), which, in turn, represent some 25,000
individual member brokers operating in virtually every community, and their 55,000 employees. We have a head
office in Toronto and an Ottawa office just a short walk from Parliament Hill; a full-time staff of six; and a
volunteer board of directors drawn from the member associations.
Much like Canada as a nation, IBAC — which was founded in 1921, at a time of fragmentation and
chaos in the p&c industry — faces regional diversity and consensus-building challenges. However, thanks to
dedicated and capable leadership from volunteers and staff and commitment to a common cause, IBAC thrives as an
achievement-oriented organization that carries out its mission efficiently and effectively.
Our new strategic plan goes well beyond a surface-level validation of what has worked in the past.
In an incremental, build-on-existing-strengths manner, the plan seeks to blaze a new trail, with a focus on
clarity, prioritization, and what�s most important for achieving our vision over the next three years.
The strategic plan features a new mission statement as its foundation. It also includes five
vision statements for 2005 and, stemming from them, five groups of strategic initiatives, including goals,
objectives and action plans.
The strategic initiatives, collectively, are the vehicle for making our Vision 2005 a reality,
and they�ll receive priority allocation of our human and financial resources over the next few years.
Our new mission statement is: To promote and enhance the value of the property and casualty
insurance broker distribution system.
This broad, externally-oriented and empowering statement replaces the former IBAC mission
statement, which was more internally-oriented and narrower in scope: “To be seen by independent brokers
and member associations to be assuming a proactive leadership role on national issues while acting as a resource
to member associations on provincial issues at their specific request.”
In the extensive discussion that led to the development of the new statement, the appropriateness,
value and benefits of IBAC�s four key areas of current activity were reaffirmed.
They are: Federal government affairs, serving as the authoritative voice of p&c brokers in
dealings with cabinet ministers, MPs, senators, and other government officials; broker-specific professional
development and education programs and related qualification standards; national communications and image
enhancement advertising through our Broker Identity Program; and fostering technology advances for the broker
Our vision-based strategic priorities for the next three years can be viewed as a pyramid having
five successive levels leading to the apex — with each level being singularly important in and of its own right.
Leveraging off our existing infrastructure and programs, rather than being completely new, each
vision statement can and will be pursued independently and simultaneously, albeit in a coordinated fashion. But
there is also a hierarchical ordering and logic to the vision statements, as some require having others in place
as a foundation below.
Building upon the bedrock of the new mission statement, our five vision statements for 2005, from
foundation to apex, are as follows:
IBAC is an Indispensable Partnership of its Members
While this foundation statement is arguably already a fait accompli, a strengthening and “making a good thing
better” are what the vision calls for.
To achieve this, IBAC and its member associations will be striking a task force to develop a set
of principles and a clearer delineation of roles and accountabilities that will define the mandates of the
national association and the member associations at their points of interaction.
As the world and the p&c insurance industry in Canada have changed, so too have the issues
and challenges facing IBAC and its members. Roles and responsibilities have become somewhat blurred in this new
environment, and we�ve realized that the time is ripe to put together a set of guiding principles that is right
for the times, a charter for interaction and action.
IBAC is a Financially Strong Organization Working Within the
Vision of its Members
To achieve this vision, IBAC and its member associations will be working collaboratively to identify and tap into
attractive new revenue-generating opportunities that are outside the realm of membership dues.
The strategic initiative aimed at achieving this vision recognizes that nearly all of IBAC�s
financial resources come, directly or indirectly, from its member associations and IBAC can be financially
strong only if its member associations are financially strong.
IBAC is a Conduit for the Development and Delivery of Technologies for the
Competitive Advantage of the Insurance Broker Distribution System
The achievement of this vision revolves primarily around ensuring the success of the CSIO portal as a single
entry multiple company interface (SEMCI) technology solution and competitive advantage for the insurance broker
IBAC and its member associations are committed to doing everything in our power, and more, to
ensure a critical mass of insurer and broker participation in the portal, and its ongoing success financially
and as a technology breakthrough. This vision will have been achieved when, within the next three years, the
CSIO portal becomes an indispensable component of the insurance broker distribution system.
The P&C Broker Distribution System Continues to Thrive Within the Legislative
and Regulatory Environment
To achieve this vision, we must build upon an existing strength. Through various means, we will increase the
visibility and profile of our association and of our broker constituents in the eyes of the federal government,
in order to solidify recognition of IBAC as the leading advocate for p&c insurance brokers and their clients.
As well, we will devise ways for better sharing of information and coordination among the member
associations on provincial legislative and regulatory issues, and between the members and IBAC on provincial
issues that are likely to have a cross-impact on federal issues.
Canadians Recognize Member Brokers as the Most Trusted and Competent
In achieving this vision, our professional development and education programs for member brokers will be
instrumental. So too will the advertising and communications initiatives under our Broker Identity Program.
We are currently working with our advertising agency to develop engaging new TV advertising,
to be first aired in January 2003, which will advance the BIP to a state where the insurance broker distribution
system, as represented by the BIP logo, is recognized nationally by consumers, insurers and government officials
as the most valued and trusted channel in the property and casualty insurance industry.
The new advertising will educate consumers about the benefits of the insurance broker
distribution system and keep it in the forefront of their minds by competitively differentiating the quality and
value-adding professionalism of insurance brokers.
Our action plan under this strategic initiative will also improve our internal processes for
BIP consensus-building and decision-making, and strengthen BIP communications and promotion to member associations,
member brokers, and insurance company partners.
Brendan Wycks, BA, MBA, CAE, is executive director of the Insurance Brokers Association of
Canada. He can be contacted at (416) 367-1831, ext. 29, or at