There’s a new face on the leadership team of LowestRates.ca, and she has more than a little to offer the online rate comparison site. Denise Gaeta was recently appointed head of property and casualty insurance at LowestRates.ca and brings with her 17 years of experience in the insurance industry, which she has spent in broking, underwriting, as well as loss control, risk management, and recruitment.
Most recently, Gaeta was the national president of iv3 for almost four years, and from that role alone, is well prepared to develop the rate comparison site’s partner network.
“I developed a lot of relationships and contacts within the industry at a higher level [from] working with predominantly carriers, MGAs, and then some large brokerages as well,” Gaeta said. “I think that was a very valuable asset coming into the role with LowestRates.ca because we have three major focuses with regards to our business and my experiences get into that.”
Those focuses including working with carriers to create partnerships and help them develop an understanding of how LowestRates.ca can promote their business within both the broker community and among consumers. Another focus of the role is to work with brokerages, and having been a broker and recruiter as well as having worked in underwriting, Gaeta understands what brokerages need and what they want to accomplish, in addition to how difficult the marketplace can be for producers.
“Essentially, what LowestRates.ca is trying to do is help primarily brokerages (and direct writers) grow through carrier relationships,” Gaeta explained. “Justin [Thouin] and Sean [Widdess] are fantastic, but [they’re] not from the industry, so I bring something different to the leadership team with my background.”
Gaeta also brings a different perspective as a female leader in the insurance industry, recently participating on a panel at Insurance Business’s Women in Insurance event in Toronto. She remembers when she got her start in the industry almost 18 years ago and had to navigate the boys’ club.
“When I first started just in sales and underwriting, every executive at that time primarily was male, and going into a brokerage role, it was what I used to call ‘the boys’ club.’ You had to find a way to become visible and make yourself known and show value,” said Gaeta. “Making yourself noticed comes from producing results. I’ve been in sales roles predominantly my whole life and when you get results you get noticed – it doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are.”
Gaeta arrives at LowestRates.ca at a challenging time for brokers in personal lines, with the auto insurance market in some provinces in a state of crisis. Consumers are paying more and more for their auto insurance – in fact, LowestRates.ca found that auto insurance rates shot up significantly in multiple Canadian provinces in the second quarter of 2019. Drivers in Alberta got the short end of the stick, facing the steepest increase compared to the same quarter last year, at 16.20%.
Read more: Auto insurance rates rise again – report
Giving consumers the power to choose the best quote and broker partner for them in these tough times is that much more crucial.
“We want every consumer in Canada to have the best experience possible, and to get the most value from going online and doing a quote with us,” said Gaeta, adding that her first priority is creating brand visibility while getting more brokerages and direct writers onboard. “I’ve already started building a team, and that team’s focus is to create the brand and bring on every brokerage we can in Canada to support the consumers, and then give them an opportunity with consumers [as well as] the direct writers that aren’t online that need to be, so that consumers are getting the best experience and are able to compare every rate in Canada.”