How Billyard Insurance Group is growing organically and leveraging technology

President on national expansion, talent retention, and transformation strategies

How Billyard Insurance Group is growing organically and leveraging technology

Insurance News


Stephen Billyard, president of award-winning Billyard Insurance Group (BIG), knows what it takes to keep his business successful during a difficult year: organic growth based on carefully planned moves rather than quick fixes. 

“[W]hat we’ve done is a number of things very well, and we’ve stayed focused on a few key principles: technology, branding, training, support, but most importantly, people,” Billyard said in this interview with Insurance Business.

“We sought out and empowered the best, brightest, and youngest in the business. And we’ve put brokers and agents at the forefront of our strategy.”

At BIG, decisions have been aimed at improving the way frontline brokers work and take care of their clients, he added. This perspective allowed BIG to continue getting better, which had led to its Burns & Wilcox Award for Big Brokerage of the Year at the Insurance Business Canada Awards 2022.

Billyard said that BIG’s main problem had been attracting and retaining top talent amid a shortage of talented and experienced professionals, whether on the broker, insurer, or MGA side.

“We worked pretty hard to overcome it by cultivating a culture and an environment that attracts top talent, a place [where] top talent wants to work. And so, I think we’ve been very successful at building a brokerage that people want to build their careers at,” he explained.

Related to this strategy was cultivating BIG’s learning and development resources to turn new employees into “great insurance professionals”.

BIG’s goal in 2023 is “to be a leading national insurance brokerage” through expansion across different provinces in Canada. 

“And we’re building a technology platform that is going to empower our brokers to service and sell more efficiently and provide the data we need to run our businesses more effectively. I think if we can accomplish that, I’m very satisfied with where it’s going to put us in the Canadian insurance marketplace by the end of 2023,” said Billyard.

He further emphasized the importance of advancing BIG’s capabilities to keep brokers up to speed on technological innovations in the industry. “[T]hat’s a business strategy as well. But I think, for us, at least in our ethos, technology is everything. And it’s why our mission is to lead the digital insurance revolution.”

He argued that an industry-wide effort was needed to address challenges in the face of high inflation, increasing claim costs, and supply chain issues, which could affect business profitability and service delivery.

“I think our industry has to do better than we’re doing and it has to financially perform in order to thrive. And our customers are demanding more from us than ever before,” Billyard said. “You know, we’re coming through this period where the weak spots in our industry have been exposed, and the winners in the year ahead will be those that make progress on these issues.”

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