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IBAC President Farewell Address

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Well, the end is nigh. This will be my last article submitted as the President of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC). It’s been quite a journey. A 2-year stint, a global pandemic, a significantly hard market, and a tremendous amount of change. I’m grateful for all of the lessons learned and all of the great people I’ve met along the way.

As much as the pandemic has caused me to miss out on a lot of the traditional experiences gleaned from this position, I feel that the positives have far outweighed the negatives. I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a talented and passionate group of volunteers and staff members through a very challenging time, in which we never lost sight of what was important to us. We’ve worked hard to ensure that the future for brokers in Canada is brighter than ever. As is the case with most businesses and organizations, over the last 18 months we’ve had to focus, strategize and change course to ensure that we were able to carry on with our business and prepare ourselves for the future.

Winston Churchill once said, “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”. I think we need to take stock of that quote for many reasons. Our industry is cyclical – we have our significant peaks and our shallow valleys. However, this was different. The pandemic forced us to think differently, move faster, drive innovation and do some of the things that have been holding us back for a long time. I’ve always said that I’m proud of how our industry, and particularly brokers, have responded throughout this pandemic. Let’s make sure that we maintain this vigor for change and improvement and use all of the learnings to help prepare us for the challenges ahead.

The broker value proposition has historically been based on the trifecta of advocacy, choice, and advice. I think the pandemic has highlighted another fundamental pillar that enables us to remain vibrant and successful and that is community.

I’ve heard so many great stories about brokers doing an enormous amount of volunteer work, countless and extensive charitable donations, and other really fantastic things in the towns and cities where we choose to do business. I’ve also seen and heard stories of brokers helping other brokers. This is unique and it’s something to be proud of. Our ability to connect with and support our communities is valuable and cannot be overstated in terms of how much it helps our brand and demonstrates our commitment to being there for people when they need us. Let’s keep doing that!

IBAC is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. We had a couple of events planned to celebrate this significant milestone, but, you know! The thing is, there’s been a lot of great work done over the last 100 years to help us get to the position we find ourselves in today. The work cannot and must not stop. While we’ve had success on such files as the Bank Act, our industry is evolving, and we need to keep a keen eye on the challenges and disruptors of the future. Change is constant and change is good, we simply need to ensure that we’re prepared for this change and that we deal with it effectively. This may mean that some of the things we’ve traditionally done may need to change, and that’s ok. We can’t meet the challenges of the future by simply relying on the successful strategies employed in the past. We need to keep our eyes open and always remain focused on what is best for our customers, for they are the ones that will ultimately determine our fate.

I’ll pause the pontification at this point and say thank you to a few people. I’ll start by thanking Chris Floyd, the Chairman of IBAC. Chris is one of the best people you could ever meet. Period. Smart, a great leader, funny, and incredibly passionate about being a broker. I’ve learned so much from him and I don’t think that I would have gotten through the last 2 years without him. Thank you for your service Chris, we’re all going to miss you. Peter Braid, Liz Scott, and all of the staff at IBAC, thank you! The support you’ve given, the leadership, and the hard work and determination that goes on 365 days a year is tremendously appreciated. To the IBAC executive and board, I’m very grateful to have gotten to know you all so well. I’ve been around the IBAC table for a long time, but these last two years have been the best group ever. Thank you for caring and thank you for working together for the greater good.

Our association is moving forward in very competent hands. Robyn Young, of Calgary, Alberta will be sworn in as the new President in September. Robyn is one of the most passionate brokers I have ever met. She brings tremendous insight and perspective into this role and I know she will continue to lead us down the right path as we navigate our way through this challenging and rapidly changing environment.

Finally, thank you to insurance brokers everywhere.

Be well and take care!

Kent Rowe
IBAC President

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