Letters to the Editor
These are fun times to be an insurance broker engaged in broker associations for over 10 years! I express my opinions as a broker, not as official statements in my capacity as Past-President of the Toronto Insurance Conference and Director of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada
Mixing the discussion of regulation and association value doesn’t work since, for example, RIBO is not an association but a self-regulatory body without which Ontario brokers would have the pleasure of being regulated by the likes of FSCO that regulates our insurer partners.
Auto insurance, being such a large piece of the national premium pie, is structured and regulated differently in each province. So a discussion of Association value around technology nationally merits its own article! Not one mention of CSIO or an opinion from their view in an article touching on this issue does astound me. Advocacy within the provincial and national broker associations certainly does extend beyond positioning relative to the bank act. Auto insurance reform, FATCA compliance and catastrophic risk transfer/response are examples that spring to mind.
I agree that association value should be regularly put to the test transparently on a regional, provincial and national level recognizing that ROI depends a lot on the “I” in terms of not just money/dues but interest and time. I agree that standards of entry as currently regulated deserve some intense examination in the near future.
As to what constitutes a truly independent broker vis a vis insurer investment/ influence and its implications for broker association membership and interest alignment, it is an issue that should come up at every provincial association AGM!!! Now that’s an article in which I’d invest some of your reporter’s due diligence.
I do, however, respectfully suggest that these distinct issues are far more complex than as framed in your article. You can feel free to use my real name as I see no need for anonymity to engage in constructive and healthy debate. Thank you for starting an interesting conversation!
Brooke Hunter, President and CEO, HUNTERS International Insurance
I just finished reading your association article. Full disclosure, I’m a past president of the IBAO. I think there are many ways associations will need to evolve to help deliver solutions to the channel in our new or coming new environment, and I would have looked forward to reading more about those in the article.
In your editorial you state that you are being provocative and pushing accountability. I struggle with your concept of accountability when one of your lead contributors to the piece is “Broker X.” It’s easy to sit in the back row and throw out comments for which you are unaccountable when you remain anonymous; I expect more from your magazine. I’m also disappointed in your reporter’s poor distinction between provincial associations vs the national association, or she simply listened to an anonymous Broker and didn’t fact check the statements.
I think you had an excellent opportunity to discuss the future potential for associations but missed the mark by neglecting your own call for accountability and allowing Broker X to be negative about the past, rather than focusing on constructive realistic solutions for the future.
Rick Orr, CIP, Orr Insurance Brokers
Our Editor Responds:
I believe strongly that with Letters to the Editor, the reader should have the last word, and then other readers can make up their own minds. But Mr. Orr’s message raises one crucial point that needs to be addressed.
When a source chooses to remain anonymous, they are not ducking accountability but counting on us to protect them from retribution. Without Deep Throat, the world would never have learned about Watergate. Are we the Washington Post? No. But we are a national news organization, even if it’s for a particular business niche, and we value our integrity no less than a major newspaper. You should know that if you talk to me or Sara Tatelman or one of our reporters, and you want your name left out of our pages, you can do so without fear of someone reading your words and firing you, passing you over for a promotion, or subjecting you to ridicule.
As we continue to progress in offering you deeper, more comprehensive stories, we value the trust you place in us when you make comments, whether on or off the record, for attribution or to be kept anonymous. We’re Top Broker; we try to live up to top standards.
Copyright 2015 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the April 2015 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine