To say that Brett McGregor, president of Guild/HMS Insurance Group, is an active individual is an understatement. The 36-year-old is a loving husband of 10 years – he and his wife Amanda have three children. He is also deeply involved in sports, as a coach for basketball and hockey teams, and as an avid player of rec hockey and curling. McGregor is also fond of watersports and camping during the summer.
Fatherhood and a sports-centric lifestyle have done little to slow down this insurance professional, however. Join Insurance Business Canada as we learn more about this Young Guns 2017 recipient in this exclusive interview touching on his role as a board member for the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba and his expertise in both rail and cyber.
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As a board member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba, what unique insights have you come across while participating in the association’s activities?
Being on the board has been a great way to learn more about our industry, learn about developing political relationships and lobbying, and to be a part of helping affect the future of the industry for the better. I’ve particularly enjoyed the ability to participate in initiatives that help recruit people to our industry as well as advance brokers’ technological capabilities.
What unique knowledge or experiences, in turn, have you contributed to the association?
I think I’ve been able to contribute financial and board governance experience as well as being the first person through the IBAC MBA program with Laurentian. I’m always eager to find ways to enhance professional development opportunities and participation in our association.
Although the number of cyberattacks on organizations has increased in the past couple of years, there are still a good number of businesses that remain unconvinced of cybersecurity insurance’s importance. What can be done about this?
I think that brokers need to become more knowledgeable about this relatively new risk so we can have comfortable and competent conversations with our customers about the risk to their businesses. Often it’s difficult to get a customer’s IT manager to admit that their system may still be vulnerable to a breach even despite their best efforts. If the IT manager says it’s not a risk then the business owner is often less likely to protect themselves with insurance coverage. If we can get better at having the conversation in a way that opens the door for the IT manager to admit that their security may not be impenetrable, then we’ll be more successful in convincing customers of the insurance’s importance.
As Guild/HMS Insurance specializes in railroad insurance, what are your thoughts regarding the Safe and Accountable Rail Act?
I think that after Lac Megantic it was necessary for the government to react with some sort of legislation. You just need to be careful not to overreact and create a regulatory environment that makes it difficult for companies to continue operating because they either can’t secure or can’t afford the insurance required. To require $100 million of coverage for hauling one barrel of crude or TIH seems like overkill.
What tips can you suggest to a young professional looking to make it big in the insurance industry?
If you’re looking to do well as an insurance broker I would suggest finding a firm that is fiercely committed to remaining independent and without a complete succession plan in place. Take every professional development opportunity available and work hard to become that viable succession plan.
One in four users say they do not know how to respond to a ransomware attack: Survey
CP Rail denies its involvement in Lac-Mégantic incident