A Second Chance
Companies to Watch - November 2011
Company: National Brokers Insurance Services
President: Joyce Usher-Mesiano
Year Founded: 1998
Public or Private: Private
Premiums in 2010: Not Disclosed
After working at two insurance companies and a brokerage, Joyce Usher-Mesiano decided to venture out on her own and launched National Brokers Insurance Services Inc. in September 1998. Over a decade later, this independent brokerage offers a specialized line of P&C products, and serves clients in Canada and the US from a head office in Mississauga, Ont.
Reason to Watch
When one of the partners at the brokerage was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Usher-Mesiano could not stand aside and wait to find out if there was a trial drug or treatment that could help. She was advised of an independent study that found 15% of second opinions resulted in a change in diagnosis, while 70% of second opinions recommended revisions to the treatment plan. So, with the help of a friend, she contacted a group in the US that provided second opinion medical reports to patients who want to ensure accurate diagnosis, prognosis and an effective treatment plan.
Monarch Intermediaries Inc. is an MGA working directly with the WorldCare Consortium: America’s Best Hospitals. Monarch offers individuals that are diagnosed with a serious illness a Second Medical Opinion. Medical records are sent electronically, through secure means, to specialists at the top academic medical hospitals who review them, confirm or modify the diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. For example, a Monarch member who is diagnosed with cancer may get a Second Medial Opinion report that offers the views of a multidisciplinary team including oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, radiotherapist, and sub-specialist surgeon—all within 4 to 5 days once medical information is received and pathology reviewed.
“Getting that second opinion through Monarch changed the diagnosis and treatment for our business partner,” says Usher-Mesiano. “The next step was to determine the cancer mutation and the possibility of a trial drug. While treatments here in Canada were not working for our partner, additional tests were completed in the US and arrangements were then made for the trial drug here in Canada and now our partner has had positive results.”
After this experience, Usher-Mesiano began to think of other families who might be faced with a similar situation and want a second opinion. She negotiated a contract and now National Brokers Insurance Services is the first P&C insurance brokerage in Canada to offer Monarch’s Second Opinion Certificate, separately or as an add on to a customer’s existing policy.
“Recruitment of top-notch employees and continuous training and education are essential to providing our superior customer service.”
In the last six months, National Brokers Insurance Services has focused on risk management and providing loss control services to clients. The idea came from a meeting with the brokerage’s advisory board, which consists of 12 clients. The board was established four years ago and Usher-Mesiano says it’s been wildly successful.
“We meet twice a year and ask for a review of our services, along with suggestions for changes and additional ways to increase new business accounts,” says Usher-Mesiano.
For personal lines, suggestions have included additional coverage options and more personal contact. For commercial lines, clients want more risk management services. The brokerage heeded this advice and implemented additional risk and loss control services.
“Companies that effectively manage risk have a competitive advantage and are more likely to retain customers.”
As many would agree, economic uncertainty has created challenges for the insurance industry. Usher-Mesiano says the firm strives to overcome this by working as a team to contact clients, provide information and great service, focusing on customized coverage first, and premiums second.
Since April 2011, the company has been in the process of re-branding and upgrading its website, which will provide commercial clients more information and loss control tips including disaster recovery. For personal lines, in the past the firm has shied away from online quoting but realizes now it must offer this feature to attract younger clients.
Usher-Mesiano looks to continued growth at the firm. “Most of our business comes through referrals. We’ve been growing steadily and it’s because of our people here and what they do for our clients.”
The company’s main focus is Cancer Care and Usher-Mesiano says this is “because cancer has touched everyone in one way or another.”
Headquarters: 6725 Edwards Boulevard, Mississauga, ON L5T 2V9
Telephone: (local) 905-564-8488 (toll free) 1-877-630-NATL (6285)
Copyright 2011 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the November 2011 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.