Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are happening here, there and everywhere in the insurance industry. The deals are like busy highways connecting the industry across geographies and enabling growth opportunities, knowledge sharing and job prospects.
For some brokerages, M&A equates to the addition of a few expert hands to an already thriving global operation. For others, like Atlantic Canada-based Archway Insurance, inorganic growth presents opportunities to scale up from a smaller community-centric hub to a prosperous regional brokerage.
Archway Insurance won the Markel Award for Big Brokerage of the Year at the Insurance Business Canada Awards 2017. This was the first time the brokerage fit into the category of Big Brokerage – a notion that’s probably still quite new for the rapidly evolving firm. Despite the many changes and opportunities initiated by the firm’s M&A activity, it still clings on to its local roots in order to provide the highly personalized service expected from the broker channel.
“Success as a big brokerage is a combination of things for us at Archway Insurance. It’s about striking a balance between making the opportunities and benefits of being a larger company available to everyone, while keeping hold of the personal touch and community at the core of the business,” explained Gina McFetridge, president at Archway Insurance.
“It’s finding the balance between having more markets and more career opportunities for people within the company, but still knowing everyone’s name and dealing with them personally. Nobody is a number at Archway Insurance – and that goes for both employees and clients. We’re very focused on making sure we grow without losing our roots.”
The broker has the ability to be the go-to, trusted advisor within a community, but continued success in that role requires a highly personal touch, according to McFetridge. As direct insurance models disrupt intermediaries and technology firms throw up alternatives, the value proposition of the broker as a trusted local advisor becomes ever clearer.
“There’s a reason why people choose a broker over a direct insurer, and we always need to be mindful of that,” McFetridge told Insurance Business. “It doesn’t have to be a choice between fast, efficient service or highly personalized service. A top brokerage should strive to offer the best of both worlds for the consumer.”