Insurance Business Canada Awards 2023 lifetime achievement award winner Carol Jardine (pictured) has a message for the insurance industry, and it comes down to daring to be bold and shouting about achievements.
“We’re a great industry and we don’t celebrate ourselves enough, and we don’t talk to our friends and neighbours positively,” Jardine told Insurance Business during an IBC Awards interview. “We need to be better at celebrating.”
Jardine, most recently Wawanesa president of Canadian P&C operations, retired in February.
Speaking to Insurance Business at the IBC Awards 2023 immediately after she was presented with the achievement award, Jardine shared how she has witnessed the insurance industry change, her next steps and why retirement does not mean she has said goodbye to insurance.
Reflecting on how insurance has changed since she entered the industry in 1976, Jardine pointed to technological and diversity and inclusion changes.
“I joined the industry in 1976, while still in college, and chose to stay in insurance when I graduated in chemical engineering,” Jardine said. “I remember in the early 80s, I’d wanted to become a claim manager and the vice president at the time told me that he wouldn’t promote me to claim manager – he [said he had] promoted a woman once and it was a mistake, and he would never do it again.”
A legitimate trailblazer for women in the insurance workforce, Jardine did not let the manager’s prejudices get in her way.
“I said, well, I’m going to leave the company and I’ll get my claim manager’s job,” Jardine said.
Caucasian women are on a more even footing with men now, according to Jardine.
“That’s been a big change,” Jardine said. “When you look at the CEOs of some of our big Canadian insurance companies, there’s a lot of Caucasian women there.”
Nevertheless, the lifetime achievement award winner stressed that there is more for the industry to do to better reflect the diverse communities that insurance serves and to embrace people with different ideas.
“We as an industry, when you look out today [at representation at the IBC Awards], seem to be doing a much better job, but we still need to get diverse candidates at the top,” Jardine said.
Jardine predicted that technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) is going to continue to drive “huge change” within the industry.
“When I joined, it was about how to become a paperless insurance company,” Jardine said. “Now, it’s really, how do we rest our brains and let the computers do the work? And what can we do from an emotional intelligence perspective versus an artificial intelligence perspective?”
For Jardine, retirement offers an opportunity to give back to the community. The former insurance executive is on the Southlake Regional Health Centre board.
“Our hospitals are currently trying to do the best with very limited funding, and, as insurers, we pay a lot to the Ministry of Health for our levees in auto insurance, so I’m trying to find a way to maximize the funding with the hospital,” Jardine said.
Jardine is also on the board of Tarion, a not-for-profit consumer protection organization that administers Ontario’s new home warranty program.
“When people buy houses, kind of like home and auto insurance, they don’t really know what they’re buying,” Jardine said. “I get to work with the Tarion board on a big consumer education program we have right now to help new homeowners understand what the warranty coverage is and how they can access that.”
Jardine remains connected to the insurance industry through consulting – “people are calling me, bouncing ideas off me, which is kind of fun,” she said – and she also has two sons and two daughters-in-law who work in insurance.
Jardine received the FIRST Insurance Funding of Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Insurance Industry at the IBC Awards 2023, which took place on November 16, at the Liberty Grand in Toronto, Ontario.
Being selected as the lifetime achievement award winner was “really humbling”, Jardine, who attended the event with her family, told Insurance Business.
Do you agree with Insurance Business Canada Awards 2023 lifetime achievement award winner Carol Jardine that people in the insurance industry needs to be bolder about celebrating themselves? Share your thoughts in the comments below.