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1 An increasing number of insurance industry professionals are expecting long expensive legal battles to be dramatically reduced as a result of a growing trend called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Formalized structures encouraging mediation have been few and far between in the insurance industry. However, a service titled Insurance Dispute Resolution Services of British Columbia (IDRSBC) has been making inroads since opening its doors in January, The neutral, non-profit service for consumers and for the general insurance industry was unveiled by the Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. (IBABC), which also funds it. The service offers effective and efficient ways to resolve insurance disputes. In two short years it has become the most sophisticated insurance dispute resolution model in Canada. Quebec and Ontario also have external dispute resolution models but primarily deal with consumer complaints regarding the business practices of insurers. Problems tackled by the B.C. office also include issues relating to claims coverage, quantum, contract disputes between insureds, companies, adjusters and brokers. Heading up the -based office of IDRSBC is Peter Wright, an industry veteran who has logged 54 years in the insurance trenches, primarily in the marine insurance sector. Wright brought the idea of a dispute resolution service to IBABC. He had been exposed to the potential of such a service more than 15 years ago when serving as an expert witness in numerous insurance court cases. He had also seen the potential of dispute resolution services in the maritime field where that type of settlement is a cultural tradition and many disputes are settled by arbitration. I thought there was a better alternative to long, expensive court cases, remembers Wright. He set out to research mediation services and found very little written about it 15 years ago. Fascinated with the concept, Wright became a chartered arbitrator. His background also includes being president of the Maritime Arbitrators Association and vice-president of the Association of Maritime Arbitrators of Canada (Western Canada). Other credits include being a past director of the Mediation Development Association of B.C. and the B.C. Arbitration & Mediation Institute, as well as a past trustee of the B.C. International Commercial Arbitration Centre. Mediation by overall effectiveness is a win-win process. It s a negotiation agreement made by all parties in the dispute. It s much more cost effective and more time efficient, extols Wright. In contrast to court cases that can drag on for years, dispute resolution can clear things up swiftly and efficiently. Mediation and arbitration are slowly gaining recognition in the B.C. legal system because they help to unclog a jammed court system. The IDRSBC office was set up after Wright researched if a potential interest existed among brokers, insurance companies and adjusting firms. The positive response resulted in the IBABC giving the project the green light. Wright was also provided space in IBABC s office. People are loathe to change in the conservative insurance industry, Wright stresses. The industry has long held traditions and manners in which IDRSBC Board of Trustees A board of trustees representing all areas of the insurance community plays a key role in how effective alternative dispute resolution is. It safeguards the project s procedures and guidelines to ensure the processes are neutral, objective and impartial. These people serve on the board of trustees of Insurance Dispute Resolution Services of B.C.: Harry Geddes, commercial lines manager, Barton Insurance Brokers, Chilliwack, B.C.. John Glavin, retired insurance company manager and chartered arbitrator, North. Patti Kernaghan, president and chief executive officer, Kernaghan Adjusters, Continued on page 14 Ian Henley, retired provincial judge and former insurance adjuster,. Joan Rush, lawyer, compliance consultant and former FICOM administrator,. Mike Valiquette, regional vicepresident, ING Western Union Insurance,. Adjusters! Check out your very own listing on our new adjuster web page. Alberta Insurance Directo Adjuster Locator Litigation Guide Contacts Lawyers! Check out your very own listing on our new lawyers web page. Alberta Insurance Directo Adjuster Locator Litigation Guide Contacts Western Canada s Insurance Litigation Guide If we missed you, you can get on board right now! Call Linda Helme (604) If we missed you, you can get on board right now! Call Linda Helme (604) Spring 2001 InsuranceWest 11

2 Peter Wright Industry veteran faces toughest professional challenge Peter Wright has always loved challenges. As the architect behind the Insurance Dispute Resolution Services of British Columbia office, Wright ranks his current position as a consultant with the project as the toughest professional challenge he s ever tackled. Born and raised in, Wright has been involved in the insurance industry the marine side right from the first moment since 1946 when, fresh out of school, he joined the firm of Dale & Company Limited. For 54 years he has held senior management positions with the Fireman s Fund Insurance Company of Canada and Axa Pacific Insurance Company. In addition to his extensive insurance experience, he is a chartered arbitrator and pioneer in the ADR field, having acted as an arbitrator and mediator for more than 14 years. Wright is currently an international marine insurance consultant, arbitra- tor, mediator, expert witness and lecturer. His clients include insurance companies and brokers, maritime industries and law firms. Assignments have taken him to China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia and Norway. He was retained by the Oceans Institute of Canada as a senior research Peter Wright associate for the International Northern Sea Route Programme (INSROP). Wright has given expert evidence in the Supreme Courts of British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Wright is also a past-president and honorary life member of the Association of Marine Underwriters of British Columbia. He also wrote Risk and Responsibility, the definitive history of the insurance industry of B.C., published in 1998 by the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia to commemorate its 50 th anniversary. Wright and his wife Joan reside in West ; they have three children and two grandchildren. His community involvement includes the Boy Scouts of Canada, as past district commissioner; the Hollyburn Country Club, as a former director; and St. Christopher s Anglican Church, where he is currently chair of the board of trustees. Since 1960 Wright, now 74, has been an avid swimmer who rarely misses his 40-minute daily routine. He recently logged his 7000 th kilometer in the Hollyburn Country Club swimming pool. Other hobbies include cooking, photography and travel. IW Kingsway General Insurance Co. 1/2 Horizontal Process colour Strip neg provided This border is ad keyline only 12 InsuranceWest Spring 2001

3 Insurance Dispute Resolution Services of B.C. panelists A key to the ongoing growth at Insurance Dispute Resolution Services of B.C. is a panel of arbitrators and mediators who have experience in both insurance and alternative dispute resolution. Today, the list of panelists is made up of 35 individuals, all of whom have a background in insurance matters, mediation and arbitration. They include such luminaries as: Suzan Beattie BA LLB, Private practice as mediator, arbitrator, coach. Insurance appointments in ICBC mediation, multi-party facilitation and coach. Joe Boskovich LLB, Mediator and arbitrator with DuMoulin & Boskovich. Insurance appointments in multi-party, maritime and personal injury. Cecil Branson QC CArb ACI Arb, Salt Spring Island Private practice as lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. Insurance appointments in reinsurance, coverage, claims, ICBC, IBC, E&0, Life. Arlene Henry BCom LLB, Private practice as a mediator and lawyer. Insurance appointments in personal injury and construction. Brenda Hooper CCR CAIB, Surrey Insurance broker with B & W Insurance Agencies. Certificate of conflict resolution from the Justice Institute of B.C. Patricia Lane LLB CMed, Victoria Private practice as a lawyer, mediator, arbitrator and trainer. Insurance experience in personal injury, malpractice. Laurie McDonell LLB, Private practice as a lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. Insurance experience in personal injury, commercial and employment. Bill Samler BA AIIC CIP ACIS PAdm, Private practice as a mediator, insurance risk manager. Insurance experience as an adjuster, fidelity, bonding, business law. Glenn Sigurdson QC BA LLB, Private practice as a lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. Insurance experience specialist in multiparty. W. J. (Bae) Wallace QC BSc CArb, Lawyer, mediator and arbitrator with Bull Housser & Tupper. Insurance experience in general insurance, product liability, construction and professional liability. What is dispute resolution? Dispute resolution means using mediation, arbitration and other processes to resolve a dispute, as an alternative to going to court. Mediation This is an informal meeting in which a neutral mediator assists people involved in the dispute to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. A mediator facilitates or referees the meeting and does not take sides nor decides who is right or wrong. Arbitration This is similar to a hearing at court, but is less formal. An independent arbitrator hears both sides of a dispute and decides on the outcome. An arbitration decision can be made based on written documents alone, or can be based on verbal evidence at a hearing. Other models of dispute resolution include: Mini-trials in which a retired judge hears from both sides of a dispute, as in an arbitration and gives an opinion on the probable outcome if the case went to court. The parties are then free to agree on whether to accept the opinion or come to their own agreement. Multi-party cases involve more than two parties, for example an insurance broker, a customer and an insurance company. A multi-party dispute may be resolved using mediation or arbitration. Tec 4 1/3 Horizontal B&W Strip neg provided This border is ad keyline only Spring 2001 InsuranceWest 13

4 JONES BROWN INC. Insurance Brokers and Consultants Insurance for all Suppliers and Producers for Motion Picture, Television, Theatrical & Music Industries. Multiple Claims Crime frequency High-valued Homes Additional capacity for Commercial & Habitational Higher commissions possible We use underwriters worldwide including:, Toronto, New York, London and Los Angeles to ensure the best premium & coverage. No obligation insurance quotations can be provided on request. David Hamilton Vice President World Trade Center, # Canada Place,, BC V6C 3E1 Tel: (604) Fax: (604) International Loss Adjusters and Surveyors Offices throughout Canada Western Branches... Tel: (604) Fax: (604) Toll Free: (888) Calgary... Tel: (403) Fax: (403) Toll Free: (800) Edmonton... Tel: (780) Fax: (780) Toll Free: (877) Dryden... Tel: (807) Fax: (807) hour National & Global Claims Service: Regular Habitational Risks Multiple Family Homeowners COC Spec Homes Farms Rooming Houses Employment Practices Liability HUD INSURANCE SERVICES 6181 Fraser St.,, B.C. V5W 2Z9 Regina... Tel: (306) Fax: (306) Toll Free: Swift Current. Tel: (306) Fax: (306) Toll Free: Kenora... Tel: (807) Fax: (807) Toll Free: Stand-alone Personal & Commercial Umbrella Special Events Liability Vacant Dwellings Any risk you feel has merit Contact us TOLL-FREE or PHONE (604) FAX (604) DISPUTE RESOLUTION Continued from page 11 they practise, he adds. This long tradition includes litigation. The official mandate from our broker-members and our directors was to establish neutral, objective, impartial alternative dispute resolution facilities, says Chuck Byrne, executive director of IBABC, which played a key role in the opening of the service. Another goal was to provide not-forprofit services to members of the insuring public and to providers of insurance products and services in B.C. Byrne was open to the idea because it fit in well with the natural role that insurance brokers can play as consumer advocates. We welcomed the initiative that could bring Ottawa s plaintiffs Parliament and insurers Buildings plus other people involved in a dispute together, remembers Byrne. The IDRSBC spent its first year putting its infrastructure in place and 30 mediation cases were tackled. Last year saw the number of cases climb to 120. Referrals are now coming in at the rate of eight to 10 monthly. Margaret Meagher, a senior, is a strong proponent of the dispute resolution service. She had been frustrated in an attempt to claim on trip cancellation insurance for a bus trip to Reno. Her husband had a heart attack and despite having the proper paperwork, Meagher was unsuccessful in her attempts to receive her vacation claim payment. She consulted a lawyer who told her the legal fee would exceed the amount claimed. Frustrated, but determined to keep trying on a matter of principle, Meagher contacted the Better Business Bureau. They connected her to IDRSBC and Peter Wright became involved. A short time later the matter was settled thanks to the efforts of the IDRSBC. The prompt, courteous and efficient assistance that I received resulted in a satisfactory settlement of my insurance dispute with the travel insurance company, said Meagher. There aren t any readily available statistics on the number of insurance disputes that now find their way into courts, says Wright. But it seems evident there are many people who would be prepared to make use of a more flexible system. Quite aside from the cost involved in going to court, ADR offers major savings to litigants in terms 14 InsuranceWest Spring 2001

5 Aside from court costs, alternative dispute resolution offers savings in terms of time, energy and frustrations of time, energy and frustrations. The first step in moving the IDRSBC office ahead was the appointment of a board of trustees representing all areas of the insurance industry. Wright explains that the trustees are there to create and safeguard the project s procedures, guidelines and to assure that processes are neutral, objective and impartial. The next step was recruiting a panel of arbitrators and mediators who had experience in both insurance and alternative dispute resolution. Today, the list of panelists is made up of 35 individuals, who all have a background in insurance matters, mediation and arbitration. Bryan Williams, one panelist and former chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and a widely acknowledged expert in mediation and arbitration, says mediation works and is experiencing a healthy growth because the process involves arriving at a consensus, which is what parties in a dispute want. If it succeeds it is a tremendous thing. If it fails you ve only lost a short period of time and a small fee. Williams plate became more full in February when he was appointed the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia s first-ever Fairness Commissioner. The new position with ICBC is expected to provide a boost to the corporation s existing complaint handling and dispute resolution processes. The position will also give policy holders and claimants another avenue through which to tackle their concerns. Once the IDRSBC panelists were in place Wright s next step was promoting the service through presentations to industry groups and insurance firms. Once word spread, cases were referred Continued on page 27 What to look for in a mediator Once you have decided to go to mediation, here are a few questions to consider when choosing someone: What training and background does the mediator have relating to your own situation? How much experience has the mediator had in the field of mediation? What experience has the mediator had in the particular type of dispute which you are facing? What is the mediator s area of expertise? What s the style of the mediator? Is the mediator a member of a professional alternative dispute resolution (ADR) organization? How much will the mediator charge? Can the mediator provide adequate meeting facilities? How much background or how extensive a summary report does a mediator require? Does the mediator use an agreement to mediate? Does it cover disclosure of information, confidentiality, expected length of process, termination of mediation, and method of payment? Tips provided by McLaren and Sanderson s Book, Innovative Dispute Resolution: The Alternative. The 2001 Alberta Insurance Directory...now off the press! Accurately lists 300 general and life insurance company offices, 800 general insurance brokers, 100 independent adjusting firms, and more than 2,000 senior insurance personnel. Send cheque to Insurancewest Media Ltd., PO Box 3311,, B.C. V6B 3Y3. Or available through the Independent Insurance Brokers Assn. of Alberta in Edmonton. Price $41. 7% GST and 7% B.C. Sales Tax are additional. Orders from B.C. remit $ Elsewhere $ GST R Shipping/handling paid by publisher Insurance Companies Brokers Adjusters with PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, TRADES and SUPPLIERS Spring 2001 InsuranceWest 15

6 ALBERTAPROFILE Robin Seacombe Calgary personal lines executive is a people person and convention buff By Peggy Weddell Robin Seacombe lives a comfortable life, happy with both his career and with the company for which he has worked for the past 27 years. He has no intentions of making any moves and he doesn t even have a resume. There is no title on his business card - just his name, address, the Royal & SunAlliance and a list of numbers where he can be reached. It is a good bet readers who don t recognize Robin Seacombe are either new to the industry or they haven t attended many insurance industry conventions. Since he landed his first insurance job in Canada, Seacombe has rarely A flexible underwriting facility for brokers, and no contract requirement! Our featured programs for Spring 2001! Recreational Risks Liability and Property Coverages for risks like: Kayak/Canoe/Mountain Bike Tours and Rentals Fishing Guides Hiking/Walking/Bus Tours Hole-in-One Fast Quotes Competitive Rates High Limits Available missed one. Attending conventions all over the country is one of the activities he and his wife, Marie truly enjoy. I m a real people person, Seacombe says. I like any chance to meet and socialize with people. At any one time his name can be found among the board members leading four or five industry initiatives. Currently he presides over the Alberta Severe Weather Modification Society and he is also on the Insurance Bureau of Canada committee for Alberta and a member of the British Columbia Auto Coalition, investigating the competition opportunities promised by the Liberal government if they are successful in the next provincial election. Special Event Liability Short-term coverage for events like: Trade Shows Parades Tournaments Festivals Rodeos Fairs For a complete broker package including applications, give us a call or send us a note. Call David Marsh Ray Kortekaas Sherene Stacer Toll Free or Fax (250) Hudson Ave., Box 370 Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4A5 Seacombe emigrated to Canada in Today he welcomes every opportunity to see Canada, touring and meeting people in the different Canadian cities he visits. He confesses to a love of gourmet food and fine wine, and loves to ferret out great restaurants wherever he goes. When at home, he does all the cooking for him and his wife, Marie. They belong to three different gourmet food and wine tasting groups. Cooking and eating are favourite hobbies along with reading novels. Stephen King is his current favourite author. They have also traveled extensively in the Caribbean and the far east. As manager for Royal & SunAlliance s western regional centre personal insurance, Seacombe is on the road constantly but admits he likes his gadabout lifestyle. He especially likes to delve into the history of a place. Whenever I visit a city for the first time I try and do a little research and investigation to determine why a city was built where it was. The only city in western Canada I could never figure out was Regina. Then I discovered that the original settlement had to be moved because of bad water. Seacombe grew up in Manchester, England and followed the footsteps of his father in the insurance business. But after working in the business for nine years he recognized a serious lack of opportunity in Great Britain. After seeing a handbook with pic- 16 InsuranceWest Spring 2001

7 The Insurance Specialists Suite West Pender Street, BC V6C 2T8 Tel : (604) Fax : (604) Visit our Website for Job Listings! NEW APPOINTMENTS Robin Seacombe, manager for Royal & SunAlliance s western regional centre personal insurance office in Calgary, confesses to a love of gourmet food and fine wine and belongs to three different gourmet food and wine tasting groups. tures of Ontario, which he still has, Seacombe took a giant leap in 1974, and emigrated to Canada with his father s encouragement. Marie followed him three months later. Seacombe planned to make his fortune at Royal Insurance and in a few years return to England. They both fell in love with Canada but not necessarily with Toronto. The sunny blue-sky days depicted in the book were not as frequent or as brilliant as he hoped and in 1983 they moved to Calgary. He bought right into the Calgary rodeo thing and until they relocated offices, he donned an apron and flipped hundreds of pancakes at free breakfasts every Stampede for many years. Currently Seacombe is helping Calgary s long arm of the law launch Mission Possible, a red light video camera strategy designed to ticket traffic intersection infractions. I know there are a lot of people opposed to it, including people in this industry, but I am absolutely in favour of any measure that will cut down accidents. Not so surprising, coming from someone who really is a people person. IW T.W. (Tom) McCartney, F.C.I.P. R. (Randy) Clark, C.I.P. The Board is pleased to announce The Board is pleased to the appointment of Mr. McCartney as President and C.E.O. of the Portage la Prairie Mutual Insurance Company. Mr. McCartney joined announce the appointment of Mr. Clark to the position of Vi c e President and Assistant General Manager of the Portage la the company in 1962 and has Prairie Mutual Insurance s e rved as Branch Manager in Company. Mr. Clark joined the Wi n d s o r, Halifax and St. company in 1962 and has Catharines. Coming to Portage in 1976 he became Chief Underwriter and in 1988 was appointed Vice P resident and Assistant General Manager. The Board welcomes Mr. McCartney to his new position as served as Branch Manager in Va n c o u v e r, Halifax and most recently in Edmonton. Originally from Portage, the Board welcomes Mr. Clark and his family back to Portage la Prairie. the company directs itself into the new millennium. Spring 2001 InsuranceWest 17

8 MANITOBASTORY Promoting status of Manitoba women Insurance association provides education and personal growth Members of the Insurance Women s Association of Western Manitoba await the June 2001 CAIW annual convention in Halifax with baited breath. Results from a poll administered to CAIW members across Canada will be revealed, determining the fate of what has proven to be a very contentious issue - the name of the national organization. It has been proposed that Insurance Women be changed to Insurance Professionals to represent CAIW s female and male membership. Currently, CAIW has approximately 20 male members, and some local chapters have already designated themselves Professionals rather than Women. This is an emotional issue that has been tabled and defeated at two annual conventions, said Lauren Isaac of Barkers Insurance in Brandon. Our local association members would prefer to keep our current name, and we will be able to do so even if the national organization s name is changed. We have the support of community members who recognize us as professionals, and they agree that it would be defeating our purpose to change it. Also to be resolved by the poll is the issue of whether or not CAIW s charter should be amended to allow male members to progress through national chairs. The current executive of the Insurance Women s Association of Western Manitoba works to provide a comfortable forum for sharing ideas and experiences, gaining product knowledge and garnering support from other women. Shown are: past president Jan Marie Jorgensen (left); treasurer Joanne Haeusler; secretary Kathy Patryluk; vice-president Joyce Chalanchuk; director Lauren Isaac and president Judy McCullough. By Karen Pankiw If you could travel back in time to 1966 when the first annual general meeting of 10 regional Insurance Women s Associations was called to order, you d encounter an insurance industry very different from the one now serving Canadians. Not unlike other industries of the era 35 years ago, the insurance industry was maledominated, and women served largely in clerical and support staff roles. Although women are now represented throughout the industry as claims adjusters, brokers, managers, agency owners and company executives, women who strived to carve out a professional career in the insurance industry in decades past faced difficult challenges in an inhospitable climate. The climate has indeed changed over the years, due in part to the Canadian Association of Insurance Women and its efforts at promoting the status of women in the insurance industry. According to five members of the Insurance Women s Association of Western Manitoba (IWAWM), CAIW membership provides a comfortable forum for sharing ideas and experiences, gaining excellent product knowledge and garnering support from other women. These are all factors they believe contribute to their growth as professionals and as people. 18 InsuranceWest Spring 2001

9 Becoming a member has taught me that I can do more, said Judy McCullough, a personal lines broker with Dick Agencies in Brandon and president of IWAWM. The association offers its members opportunities for education and personal growth. There are public speaking seminars, introductions to new products, conventions and many occasions to add to our industry knowledge. Lauren Isaac, a member of IWAWM and CAIW s national treasurer, says that the association has been effective not only in promoting the status of women in the industry, but also in bringing together the industry as a whole. It has forged ties across borders The Network specializes in the recruitment and placement of insurance professionals in permanent positions in Western Canada. We take pride in providing personal and individual service to all of our clients and candidates. With 15 years of experience, Kim can find The Perfect Fit. Suite 510, 500-4th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 2V6 Tel: (403) Fax: (403) networksearch.net the Kim McKay is your insurance personnel expert. ETWORK CORPORATE SEARCH personnel inc. We are not a knitting club or a women s groupwe are professionals, and the community looks to us as professionals Connie Gordon, of Barkers Insurance, in Brandon, Manitoba. and between people from varying job levels, from marketplace competitors and from a variety of sectors throughout the industry. Membership includes adjusters, brokers, agency personnel, owners, and even jewelers, lawyers, glass company representatives and other related service providers. CAIW encourages professionalism, offers recognition for our achievements and helps members to become more responsive to industry requirements, said Isaac, a commercial broker with Barkers Insurance in Brandon, and one of 16 directors acting as a liaison between a local chapter and the national organization. According to IWAWM member Joyce Chalanchuk, a claims adjuster with Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, CAIW membership fosters fellowship and develops key networks. Currently, CAIW s 16 chapters and 950 members are rooted in centres throughout Canada, from Halifax on the east coast to as far west as Calgary and Edmonton. When we attend national events, we meet people from across the country, and I could guarantee that we have a valuable contact in every major centre and company because of it, said Chalanchuk. IWAWM, based in Brandon, Manitoba s second largest centre, was granted PROVIDING PROTECTION SINCE 1887 ECCLESIASTICAL Contact: Sheldon Bloomer, Manager or Victor Bikas, Inland Marine Manager for Canada Tel (604) Fax (604) or # Clyde Avenue, West, BC V7T 1C5 Alberta office: J.D. (Davis) Whitehead, Alberta Regional Manager Tel (403) Outside of Calgary Fax (403) P.O. Box 1449, Suite 203, 5 Elizabeth Street, Okotoks, AB T0L 1T0 Spring 2001 InsuranceWest 19

10 The association offers its members opportunities for education and personal growth. There are public speaking seminars, introductions to new products, conventions and many occasions to add to industry knowledge. Insurance Women s Association of Western Manitoba members Kathy Patryluk (left), Joyce Chalanchuk and Joanne Haeusler at a shopping mall display. its charter in 1988 after national association members-at-large living in the area hosted a wine and cheese to stimulate interest in CAIW and to solicit membership for a local chapter. The event was a success with approximately 50 women attending, 25 of whom joined the association that year. Today, IWAWM boasts 40 members. There are 23 regular and 17 associate members, whose geographic distance prevents them from attending monthly meetings. Members are from as far west as Virden; from Wawanesa - a town of 500 which still houses the head office of insurance provider Wawanesa Mutual; from as far south as Waskada, and from many other communities in between. Monthly meetings consist of reports from the association s committees and frequently a guest speaker. Past topics include fraud, fire safety, power-ofattorney, and a range of insurance products such as condominium insurance. Getting together as an association has allowed us to test new ideas, to become leaders and to expand our expertise. As a commercial and farm insurance broker, it is critical that I keep up-to-date, because the ever-changing economy has clients diversifying and starting second home-based businesses. This demands that I know how to alter their coverage to best suit their needs, said Connie Gordon, of Barkers Insurance. We are not a knitting club or a women s group - we are professionals, and the community looks to us as professionals. Events such as Insurance Information Week held annually in October and Brandon s career symposium allow IWAWM to be a valuable educational resource. In the past, we have conducted seminars on wood heat - how it can reduce heating costs, but also what is safe and what not to do, said Loretta Waldon, manager of a rural independent brokerage in Rapid City, 25 miles north of Brandon. We have invited the Fire Department Mobile Education Unit to join us in educating the public about fire safety, we have conducted an aware- Judy McCullough This Brandon broker driven by customer service Judy McCullough By Karen Pankiw Judy McCullough pursued a career in the insurance industry immediately following high school, moving to the big city of Winnipeg from Glenboro, Manitoba. I spent about one year in the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company s Winnipeg office, and then transferred to the prairie branch in Wawanesa where I spent 10 years in various positions. In 1990, I left the company to become a broker, and am currently a broker with Dick Agencies in Brandon. I have really found something I enjoy. It is the direct contact with people and the customer service aspect that I like most about my position. McCullough says that an important part of her job is gathering the information required to provide her clients with the best possible coverage. Each client is different, and it is very important to take the time to assess what best suits their individual needs. As president of the Insurance Women s Association of Western Manitoba (IWAWM), McCullough has the opportunity to play diverse roles, working with each of the association s committees to ensure they have the resources they need to get the job done. Being a member of IWAWM and working my way up through the executive has allowed me to expand my horizons and provided me with many opportunities for personal growth. The association is a fairly big commitment, but it is worth it and I am fortunate to have the support of my employer. She is the mother of a 19-year-old Brandon University student who enjoys playing basketball. IW 20 InsuranceWest Spring 2001

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