Joshua Girouard was once a typical 18-year-old, fresh out of high school and unsure about his career path. Today, he’s the president of All Insurance Ontario and has grown the business from five brokers to 10 over the two and a half years that he’s been in charge.
Girouard’s journey from Point A to Point B relies a lot on his father, who founded All Insurance Ontario and encouraged his son to join the industry when he was applying for college programs. In the end, Girouard chose Mohawk College in Hamilton and got his RIBO licence in 2005 while still in school, joining the family brokerage that same year.
Five years later, Girouard earned a CAIB designation, but even with his education and the experience he had built up at All Insur-ance, he was unsure about taking over the family business when his dad was ready to retire. He recalls the transition from broker to president as a “whirlwind of not knowing what I was doing, trying to figure that out and asking my dad what to do, while also trying to keep an eye on what I wanted to do with the business and how I wanted to run it.” He credits his colleagues for supporting him during this period, particularly in the first year of his tenure as president.
One of the ways the brokerage has evolved under Girouard’s guidance – even before he was president – is in becoming more agile. All Insurance got rid of desk phones a long time ago, using cell phones instead so clients can text their brokers at any time.
That change “was mostly about deliv-ering our service to the client better than in the past, where the brokerage was a very old-school, brick-and-mortar kind of busi-ness,” Girouard says. “Putting ourselves out there to give that access to clients is what separates us from our old business model.”
Despite adopting new technology with the goal of increasing agility and improving the customer experience, All Insurance’s busi-ness model remains flexible. The firm has been careful not to alienate clients who don’t want to conduct business digitally. Girouard recognizes that the brokerage can’t provide the same service online that it can offline, so its brokers are focusing on being available to clients on Facebook and via text message, making sure to meet the client where they prefer to be serviced instead of forcing people to conform to the brokerage’s practices.
“I want to really grow within [the broker] channel. There’s a lot of opportunity here because of how few small players are left”
As if leading All Insurance into a new era isn’t enough on his plate, Girouard is also a territory leader for the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario’s Young Brokers Council, which is made up of 15 talented young insurance brokers who are creating significant impact in the brokerage arena.
“I’ve learned a lot – more than I ever expected to – about how the industry works,” Girouard says of the experience, highlighting the insight he’s gathered on how relationships are formed and developed between all of the insurance industry’s various participants, from vendors to carriers to associations.
As he looks toward the rest of his career, Girouard definitely sees himself staying in the brokerage world.
“I’ll be a broker probably for my entire life ... and I want to really grow within this channel,” he says. “There’s a lot of opportunity here because of how few small players are left. The public is only going to get a certain level of service from certain brokers, and I think that, based on the people I’ve talked to and the people who are coming to our office, they are very happy to have a professional who knows exactly what they’re talking about, who knows the client inside and out and has a personal relationship with them.”