Never stop learning

Never stop learning | Insurance Business

Never stop learning

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.”