How one broker helped a small Maritime company reach for the stars
Firm: Fraser & Hoyt
I started working with John Rowe around 2006 when he was living in Halifax and working for a technology company that needed professional liability insurance. He was working in a home office, so I went out and visited him—he’s a very engaging guy. While I was there he was telling me about some other business interests that he had and one was Island Abbey Foods, the company that manufactures Honibe solid honey drops. It was still in the early research and development stage, but he wanted some insurance. So I arranged a basic general liability policy and some minor amount of property insurance just to cover some machinery that they were using and a little bit of the raw inventory that they had. It was a very small minimum premium account. But I could tell that he was going to be successful at what he did. Very early on we treated him more like a key account than just a small business, minimum premium account.
“Throughout our growth curve, Don has always treated us like one of his marquee customers. It’s always about customer service and he excels at that.” - John Rowe, president and CEO of Island Abbey Foods, on his broker Don Sinclair:
He then moved the business into a government supported business incubator in Charlottetown, P.E.I. John had perfected the process to solidify honey and they started to manufacture on a small scale. So we needed to increase the equipment coverage and add product liability and inventory coverage. We were talking about the future at this point. He had his eye on the US very early on. We talked about how the program would change as the business grew. I just wanted to structure the cover to reflect the exposures as they went. And then he went on Dragon’s Den and had a success with the Dragons. Coming out of that he got the attention of some American investors who hired Willis to do a risk review. We took that opportunity to structure the policy to where it is today, which is a pretty comprehensive plan for a small but growing food-manufacturing company. We did a very open request for quotes and we provided all that data to the client and to Willis. It’s no secret; the account has been placed with RSA. RSA provided us the confidence that they could meet the growing US sales and other international sales.
In 2012, Honibe was chosen as an official food of the international space station. I sent a note to the underwriter and said, “Please expand the policy territory from worldwide to intergalactic.” Even with the space deal, though, the Island Abbey Foods account has still not hit the point that it would be considered in the key account range. But John’s an incredible centre of influence for us; he’s referred other business to us on the Island. I have enjoyed, so much, doing business with him.
Copyright 2013 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the February 2013 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.