- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

How does a modern brokerage find its course in the InsurTech world?

By Natasha Purnell, Chief Culture Officer, Park Insurance

The way traditional, independently owned and operated insurance brokerages conduct business is changing.  Brokerages are caught in between two worlds – the “old world” and the
“new world.”  The old world is where clients require face-to-face interaction with their broker, want their policy printed, and appreciate a friendly renewal reminder call or a letter in the mail. The new world, in stark contrast, is one in which clients who do not wish to conduct business in person nevertheless want the ability to purchase insurance 24/7 and prefer all communication and delivery of documents to be digital/online.

As a consequence of this new world shift, the industry is seeing an increasing number of brokerages moving towards InsurTech-style business models.  In recent years this has seen some brokerages offering digital marketplaces, online quoting and binding, delivery of documents and renewals by email, communication to clients via text messaging and marketing on social media platforms; all with varying degrees of success.

So how does a traditional brokerage navigate between these “worlds”? How do brokerages properly service the old world clients while shifting the business model and implementing new technologies to service the new world clients? For us, the answer is Culture.

Organizational culture is made up of three core components: People, Values, and Work Environment.

People are the key component! By following in our founder’s footsteps, we work incredibly hard to take care of our employees and empower them.  Treating our employees as family and taking care of them has helped us establish a positive culture while enhancing production KPI’s. Clients are better cared for by employees that are cared for.  Because of this culture, team members who deal with clients, old world and new world, actively share with the leadership team. They share what is working, what is not, technology spaces that they believe we could explore further and where we can adopt more process optimization to improve the client experience and employee time management.  Some ways this can be done is by regular employee engagement surveys, innovation submission challenges, team building exercises and a dependable transparent communication plan.

Company values are the fundamental beliefs of an organization and should be used as guideline to manage all internal affairs, customer relations and shape organizational culture.  Actively promote for employees to live true to the organizational values on a daily basis.  Make your values visible to employees, talk about them in team meetings and include them in any performance reviews and job posting. Then, most importantly is for the leaders of the organization to lead by example. Show employees how the company is living true to their values by aligning every decision, change and operations within the business with its values.

Work environment isn’t necessarily about fun at work and offering perks, such as beer Fridays or a ping pong table in your common area (although these help a lot!). It is about offering employees an array of incentives that are well thought out and deeply rooted and driven from employee satisfaction and the organizational values. As a company with an employee-centric philosophy, we have developed several programs, initiatives and strategies to grow and foster a happy workplace with high morale, trust, creativity and productivity.  We have seen success in ergonomic work stations, 20 minute walking breaks on company time, a dog friendly office and flexible work schedules.

In being part of a positive culture, employees can more effectively handle change management and are willing and excited to learn new technologies and platforms.  For modern brokerages navigating the waters between the old world and new world moving into the InsurTech space, culture can be the compass to finding your course.

About The Author

Natasha joined Park Insurance in May 2019 as the Chief Culture Officer. She is tasked with ensuring that every decision they make aligns with their core values of Passion, Innovation, Teamwork and Happiness. Since joining the team, she has tackled her new role with enthusiasm and determination. In a short time, she has built on existing programs and implemented a number of successful new initiatives. She is very passionate about building on Park’s legacy by continuing to develop health and wellness initiatives that support their valued team members.  Natasha is a licensed Level 1 Insurance Broker with Management Certificates in Marketing and Professional Sales from BCIT. She has also completed Facilitation Skills for Leaders from the UBC Sauder School of Business.

About Park Insurance

Park Insurance is a full-service, independent insurance broker, since 1950 we’ve given families and businesses in British Columbia peace of mind. In 1965, Park was purchased by Joe and Beth Fitzpatrick, and it has remained a family-owned business ever since. Three generations of the Fitzpatrick family have proudly delivered the trusted service that Joe and Beth established.

Park Insurance is the 2019 recipient of the Healthy Workplace Award from the Burnaby Business Excellence Awards.  Park is also actively involved in their community, the Burnaby Board of Trade, the Women’s Business Success Network, the IBABC, Blue Goose BC Pond and supports a large variety of charities and foundations.

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Source: Park Insurance