IBAO: Everything you need to know
Member offices: Over 1,250 brokerages
Members: 12,000+ licensed brokers
The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) is a non-profit organization that advocates for brokers in the province. The IBAO provides a variety of useful services to brokers, in addition to representing brokers’ interests to government, industry stakeholders, as well as within provincial and national policy changes. The association offers a number of programs to help get new professionals licensed and allow current brokers to build their knowledge and advance their practice.
The IBAO has a permanent staff, while also having a board of directors that consists of volunteers from 13 territories across Ontario. The IBAO’s Young Brokers Council is meanwhile made up of IBAO member brokers below the age of 40 or those with less than five years’ experience.
The IBAO puts on a number of key events throughout the year, including its annual convention, which holds the title of the largest insurance event in Canada, and the Young Brokers Conference, which provides members an opportunity to meet insurance company CEOs and attend education sessions intended for young professionals. The IBAO Awards of Excellence also takes place each year and celebrates top performers across the broker channel.
IBAO in the news
April 2018: IBAO welcomes start-up brokerages with a lower membership fee
May 2018: IBAO to host strategy meeting around ‘pivotal issue’ of data connectivity
September 2018: IBAO launches new interactive e-learning management system
November 2018: IBAO unveils new ethics course for brokers
February 2019: IBAO reinvents brand and image as part of its strategy to modernize the association
March 2019: IBAO kicks off the next phase of its broker awareness campaign to bring brokers to the forefront of people’s minds, with a relaunched online hub and a new educational campaign
June 2019: IBAO’s Young Brokers Conference concludes with a pitch competition
July 2019: IBAO adds new categories to Awards of Excellence program, with the “Brokerage of the Year” award now split into two categories: “Brokerage of the Year – Over 10 Licensed Brokers,” and “Brokerage of the Year –10 Licensed Brokers and Under”
Key leaders as of 2019
Colin Simpson – CEO of the IBAO
Simpson has more than 15 years of experience and knowledge of technical industry issues in the insurance field. He has served as president, chief executive officer, and director of a number of insurance and service companies, both in Canada and in the US. Simpson has served as CEO of the IBAO since mid-2016.
In its 2018 annual report, the IBAO outlined its membership demographics, detailing that 63% of its member brokers were female and 37% were male. Broken down by age, the majority of IBAO brokers (47%) were between 50 and 65 years old, while 32% were between 34 and 49 years old. Its principal brokers were, meanwhile, 21% female and 79% male, with almost 60% landing between 50 and 65 years of age.
The association is nonetheless making a push to reach a younger generation, both to entice younger people to choose insurance as a career as well as inform up-and-coming generations about the value of brokers. In 2019, the association relaunched its broker hub, which now features a new look and feel as well as video content spotlighting local brokers, alongside a release of the next phase of its social media campaign.
The aim, says IBAO’s board leader for 2019, is to engage millennials and their younger peers, who are buying insurance differently than other generations.
“The commonality across all generations is people want advice [because] insurance is complicated, but it’s the method on how they like to be communicated with that is different,” said Jeff Gatcke, IBAO president and a broker at Shaw Insurance in Kingston. “The younger demographic will do a lot of research online themselves and then call a broker to validate those things because insurance is a more complicated product than some other products that they’d purchase online, whereas maybe an older demographic would turn to the broker to do that research and provide that expertise instead of seeking those solutions out themselves.”
Brokers need to find a way to connect with all communities, period, whether it means face-to-face interaction at a bricks-and-mortar brokerage or being present on the web – because if you’re not reaching a range of demographics, it’s difficult to compete. The rebrand of the IBAO broker hub gives people a place to start their research under the “Find a Broker” tab.
Meanwhile, under the “Become a Broker” tab, younger people can learn about getting a career as a broker.
“From what our members are telling us, that’s an important piece of the puzzle that we need to continue to work on,” said Gatcke. “We have the marketing clout and we have that engagement across the province, so now let’s piggyback on that and get some more people interested in working as a broker, or in HR [or] technology – all the different careers that spin out of the broker channel.”