This week and next we are highlighting those brokers who made Insurance Business magazine’s Top 30 Elite Broker list this December. Today, we feature two brokers who cracked the top 30 through sheer hard work and determination.
No. 6 – Joe Palmer, president and CEO, Palmer Atlantic Insurance, Hartland, N.B.
“It’s important that we protect the independent broker channel and find new ways of doing business and staying relevant,” says Palmer. “Our clients depend on independent brokers to provide the quality service and choice they require. I believe over consolidation and insurers buying into the broker distribution channel as having a negative impact on how clients are looked after.
“There is no magical formula and it is difficult to identify just one key to success. I believe that being successful is achieved through a series of key areas. Certainly my work ethic has helped me get to where I am. I pride myself in working harder than most people. Also, being able to connect with clients, staff and business colleagues has always come easy for me. Having the ability to understand their individual needs and knowing how to address and solve those needs are critical. (continued.)
“Having a unique value proposition can provide a significant competitive advantage over these companies and other competitors. It’s important for small to mid-size independent brokers to realize that being nimble and having the ability to change directions quickly is also a significant advantage. The brokers that keep doing things the old fashion way will eventually become obsolete.
“I was also fortunate to have a couple mentors who helped me at different stages in my career. There was a brokerage owner in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia that gave me a start and is someone I respect very much. More recently I spent a lot of time with another brokerage owner from Belleville, Ontario who helped coach me and refine my leadership and management skills. He also told me that a strong backstage support group is as important as the person selling on the front lines. I certainly have a great group of people supporting me at the office and couldn’t be successful without them.
“And without a doubt, my dad and my grandfather. My dad gave me all the opportunity and positive encouragement anyone could ask for. My grandfather taught me that a hard day’s work is reward enough."
No. 30 – Andrew Clark, senior vice president and department manager, Small/Medium Enterprise Insurance Risk Solutions, Marsh Canada, Toronto, Ont.
“I got my start in the industry when I was involved in a serious car accident in 2001,” says Clark. “I experienced first-hand how the insurance industry is there to help people when they need it. The idea of being able to help others was the main attraction to the industry for me.” (continued.)
“The industry has become more educated and professional since I began. Clients are becoming increasingly knowledgeable and informed about insurance and risk management. The expectation and actual speed at which we conduct business has and continues to increase.”
“I believe growth and retention are most impacted by a strong focus on constant focus on improving the client’s experience and delivering ‘delight’ wherever possible.”
“Having a great team of like-minded, professional, hardworking people has made all the difference. Our team has actually increased our revenue by double digits each of the past two years, and are on track to do the same this year. Ilan Serman of Marsh Canada has been a key coach and mentor to me and is someone I deeply respect.”