2016 Broker Forum Agenda and Topics

1st Annual Insurance-Canada.ca Broker Forum

ICBF2016: “Brokers on the Digital Expressway”

Held Tuesday, March 1, 2016 — Metro Toronto Convention Centre

ICBF2016 Presentation Topics

The digital journey for brokers began more than forty years ago. Now that we are all on the digital expressway, technology touches most everything we do, and our customers expect nothing less. But where does the digital expressway lead, and how do we get there?

The first annual Insurance-Canada.ca Broker Forum will feature informative, thought-provoking sessions, presented by a faculty of industry experts and thought leaders.

The forum will examine the ways brokers are responding to demands for “doing it their way”; the use of technology within the brokerage to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the people at the heart of the business; and how insurers and other broker partners are responding in order to help this aggregation of players compete for survival against other existing and potential insurance providers.

Don't miss the chance to network and engage with speakers and peers during the Monday evening ICTA awards ceremony and networking reception, to which all ICTC and ICBF delegates are invited.

The presentation topics below are a sample of the final agenda; more will be added here as they are finalized.


For a printer-friendly copy of the agenda in PDF format, click here.

Presentation Outlines

“The Consumer is Changing; Are You?”

Bill Morris, Senior Partner, Navicom

In the '90s, consumer use of internet email drove small businesses to implement email systems. In the next decade, social media use by consumers pushed insurance businesses into the use of social tools.

The consumer continues to innovate, to find new ways of doing things, and to adopt new expectations as a result.

What key characteristics of the consumer are changing today and what might be the impact on those servicing their insurance needs.

“The Digital Tipping Point: Why We Need To Adopt The Tools For Tomorrow, Today”

Sherif Gemayel, President, Sharp Insurance

In our broadly evolving digital landscape, now is perhaps the most crucial time to change the way we service our clients. According to Market Insight Group and Applied Systems "Independent agents and brokers are falling behind in providing their clients with the kind of customer experience many insurance shoppers now expect." What does this mean exactly? And what do we need to do to bridge the gap between current broker services and client expectations? Sherif Gemayel, of Sharp Insurance, will discuss the necessity for brokerages in Canada to adopt a multifaceted service plan that encapsulates the types of digital tools clients now expect to see from their service providers.

“Making the Sale”

Adam Mitchell, President, Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers

When ecommerce started to really grow, the mantra was almost one of “If you build it [a website], they will come.” Well, come they did, and some even bought, but not many. Why?

This simple question has led Mitchell and Whale to challenge insurance sales tradition. They analyzed the sales funnel and found the processes they were using wanting in many respects.

In his remarks, Adam will look at the steps they have taken to create a much more successful prospecting and closing environment, one which has resulted in rather dramatic organic growth.

“Keys to Growing in the Consumer's Playing Field”

Moderator: Doug Grant, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca
Sherif Gemayel, President, Sharp Insurance
Adam Mitchell, President, Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers
Bill Morris, Senior Partner, Navicom

To succeed in sales and services, one must not only appreciate the field of play, but have a good understanding of the other participants and the "rules" of the game. This discussion will look look for the keys to success.

“Effectiveness of Marketing, Sales and Service”

Moderator: Doug Grant, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca
Rick Dresher, President, Affiliated Insurance
Renée Durepos, Vice President - Client Experience, Keal Technology
Peter DaSilva, COO, Cornerstone Insurance Brokers

How do you measure my marketing and service effectiveness? With so many options today to attract prospects and also to “engage” both prospects and clients, how do you know if you are investing wisely? It is important to not only have, but then to monitor and manage metrics and make revisions. This panel will discuss their experiences.

“Maximizing the Value of your Brokerage Management System Information”

Donna Abramson, VP - Enterprise Services, Applied Systems

Brokers have data in their management systems, from business written, to policies lost, renewals and new business opportunities. Work with hundreds of brokers has discovered opportunities to harness this data more effectively.

Donna has consulted with brokerage management teams to establish strategic plans that track performance and support new business and efficiency objectives for the entire brokerage team.

This session will highlight how best practice brokers are taking advantage of their data and mining it for valuable business insights in support of their corporate strategy.

Debate: “Will Analytics Save the Broker Channel?”

Greg Purdy, Managing Partner, Pathway Partners, Ltd.; getClarity, Inc.
Richard Boire, Partner, Boire Filler Group
Jerry Gaertner, SVP - Compliance, Security & Standards, Managed Analytic Services Inc.
Janine White, Vice-President - Marketplaces, Kanetix

In many industries, maybe insurance as much or more than most, analytics is being baked into many areas of the business. But for many brokers, the technical skills required and the data needed to be develop a real competitive edge are not readily available, or affordable. With this challenge, the question becomes one of how analytics can be utilized in order to make a significant difference. Or can it be? Learn from these different perspectives and decide what your position would be on the debating question. And take away some new ideas that could help you as you move your business forward.

This discussion will take the format of a formal debate, with two participants taking each of the two contrary points of view.

“Marketing: From Yellow Pages to Data-Driven”

Moderator: Doug Grant, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca
Doug Heaman, President, IBAO; President, Advocate Insurance Group
Ed Meiering, Vice President - Business Development, Aviva Canada
Greg Purdy, Managing Partner, Pathway Partners, Ltd.; getClarity, Inc.

At one time, marketing was a yellow page, billboard, office sign and local newspaper ad. The promise of the internet – build a website, receive traffic – is also remote. In this rapidly evolving digital age, the consumer mantra is all about them – or, to them, about Me. Deliver the right message to each one at the right time, in the way he or she prefers it.

Insurers and brokers have long marketed together in numerous ways in order to grow. This discussion will look at how insurers are being supportive in this new environment – or could be more so in future – as we speed along the digital expressway.

“Broker Experience: Real-Time, Once-And-Done”

John Belyea, COO, Moore-McLean
Jad McGregor, President, ABEX Affiliated Brokers Exchange
Jamie Reid, President & CEO, A.P. Reid & ZipSure.ca

As the consumer, for both commercial and personal insurance, becomes more accustomed to making purchases from anywhere at anytime, has developed more expectations. At the same time, many brokers and MGAs are offering more real-time functions, often beginning with quoting.

Discussing their experience – issues, challenges, approaches – will be:

  • John Belyea from Moore-McLean, who have implemented personal lines RaceDay, and Commercial Lines Bullfrog;
  • Jad McGregor of ABEX Affiliated Brokers Exchange – with Real-Time Rating and Paperless Policy Issuance for brokers;
  • Jamie Reid of A.P. Reid and ZipSure.ca, who earned an ICTA award for the full online once-and-done quote, issue and pay for tenant insurance.

The group will also offer their thoughts on the significant changes they anticipate over the near-term.

“Blurring Lines: Who Does What in the Insurance Broker Distribution Ecosystem?”

Moderator: Wendy Watson, President, ORBiT
Jeff Roy, President & CEO, Excalibur insurance Group
Ed Meiering, Vice President - Business Development, Aviva Canada
Bill Morris, Senior Partner, Navicom

Brokers and their insurance partners have been venturing onto the digital highway for some time. But customers have become the driving force behind the acceleration onto the digital expressway, as brokers face an increasing challenge from direct writers and the ever-increasing threats from outside disruptors.

Change requires determination; dramatic change requires innovation, risk-taking, drive, and passion. Technology is a key enabler, but innovation requires new ways of servicing, marketing, selling, collaborating.

The leaders among us continue to challenge the old ways, but more quickly, abruptly, and significantly.

The question to be debated is about the blurring lines of communication between insurer and broker; the blurring lines of communications with the insurance customer; and the blurring lines of responsibility among insurer, wholesaler, MGA and broker.

What does all this mean? Everything in real time, but what shape will it come in?

“The Connected World: Telematics as an Appetizer”

Hugh McTavish, President, InsureMy Ltd. & Godfrey-Morrow Insurance

One of the hottest topics in technology and consumer forums today is the Internet of Things. With some minor or specialized exceptions (perhaps sensors in factory equipment, boilers and the like) telematics resulting in UBI was the first significant insurance exploitation.

But how, and how much, can a broker participate in the opportunities that telematics UBI offers? Join the discussion around the IoT, customer engagement, and other issues and opportunities.

“Work is Better When it is Efficient”

Moderator: Doug Grant, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca
Dorothy Josephson, AVP - Personal Lines & Broker Technology, SGI CANADA
Traci Boland, President Elect, IBAO
Steve Wagler, Partner & Director of Sales, Josslin Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Since the advent of the fax machine roughly 45 years ago, electronic and digital technology has been deployed in increasing force to make “paper work” more efficient in the insurance broker distribution ecosystem.

Vast strides have been made to improve workload, speed, quality, and more, and better customer service has often followed. Some tools have seen widespread and relatively quick implementation, while others have been dreams, as yet uncaught by the dreamcatchers.

Discuss the issues facing this challenge – the objective of standardization (many broker to many company real-time connectivity) versus the opposing forces of rate of change, product and service innovation and speed to market.

“E-Signature Success: A Broker's Perspective”

Fred Onorato, Regional Sales Manager, eSignLive
Amanda Ketelaars, Operations Manager, Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers

The modern insurance broker is no longer mired in paper – no longer subject to the delays and errors that are inevitably introduced when you hit the 'print' button. Electronic signatures make it possible for brokers to complete new business paperwork on a mobile device when in front of a customer, or completely over the phone/Web. If you question whether your brokerage is ready to modernize with e-signatures, attend this session to hear how Canadian brokers like Gillons, Petley-Hare and Beyond Insurance Brokers, are doing away with printers, and delighting customers by adopting e-signatures.

“Strengthening Sales with Cognitive Computing and New Class of Enterprise Apps”

Terry Hickey, Managing Partner, IBM Interactive Experience and Mobile Leader, Financial Services & Insurance

Brokers are employing multiple channels when interacting with their customers today.

A personalized and consistent user experience combined with ease and efficiency are key strategic differentiators for brokers in successfully attracting consumers who prefer to shop at their convenience. This is especially the case today when mobile technology is becoming the tool of choice not only for consumers but for employees as well.

How can Cognitive computing advance the selling process in the broker distribution channel?

Terry will address how the confluence of these preferences and continuous innovation in mobile technology can enhance the sales function. Insurers can improve support to brokers, and brokers to their sales staff. Cognitive computing, in which apps and systems interact seamlessly, can further transform conversations with customers in both self-service environments and in personal interaction in order to drive growth.

“Emerging Technologies: The Implications for Brokers in a Connected World”

Mark Breading, Partner and Chief Research Officer, Strategy Meets Action

Wearables. The Internet of Things. Driverless Vehicles. Strong AI. Bitcoin. Gamification. These emerging technologies and others are advancing by leaps and bounds, presenting new possibilities for how businesses operate, how society functions, and how individuals go about their daily lives. It's fascinating and exciting to follow the developments – but what does it really mean for the insurance industry in the next few years? Will specific technologies change the risk landscape? Require new insurance products? Provide opportunities for operational efficiencies? Generate new business models?

What are the implications for brokers? Should brokers be investigating and strategizing today or take a wait and see attitude? Join Mark Breading from Strategy Meets Action as he shares SMA research on 12 emerging technologies, and insights from working with insurers on strategies.

“Exposure: The Shoemaker's Children?”

Marty Agather, Vice President - Client Experience, TrustedChoice.com

The convergence of technological and consumer change creates opportunity for existing and new competitors to revolutionize the way insurance is sold and serviced. Well known, deep pocketed players like Google, and radical upstarts like Lemonade intend to take significant market share. Given the potential exposure from these challenges, how can insurance companies and brokerages position themselves to grow and thrive?

“Shoemakers Panel: The Keys to Being Well-Shod”

Marty Agather, Vice President - Client Experience, TrustedChoice.com
Dario Battista, President & CEO, isure insurance
Patrick Vice, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca

Join Marty and this panel of experts as they explore this timely topic.

Based on Canadian experience and observed trends elsewhere in the world, an expert panel of industry thought leaders will bring their analysis and perspective to the keys to finding your "kinky boots." Take away key concepts and actions that will get you started or continue your success in this new era.

Speaker Bios

Individual biographies of the speakers, moderators and hosts can be found on the ICBF2016 Faculty page.