Commercial Insurance in Ontario, what to look for in your broker?

A fundamental pillar of any business is the concept of scarcity. There is not an infinite amount of money available for any business, and the businesses that are successful are the ones who use their scarce resources effectively. So when your business puts its hard earned money into insurance, there is an expectation that it will generate value for your business. So how do you make sure it does?

The problem is you likely don’t have experience in insurance, and also do not have the time to learn its nuances. That is the role of an insurance broker. Insurance is their business, and they will represent you using their knowledge and experience in the insurance industry to ensure you have the coverage you need. It’s up to them to generate that return for you, so how do they do it?

McDougall Insurance, like other representation companies like Investment Banks and Law Firms, relies on senior, accredited staff to provide the best service possible while providing the security you need. But given the amount of options available in the marketplace (all of whom will claim they have the best service and staff), how do you know which one to choose?

What to Look For in your Broker

So how do you pick who should be representing you in the world of insurance? We have compiled a short list of important characteristics to look out for in deciding what broker is right for you.


Experience is important in a broad sense, as it implies knowledge about the insurance industry, but it is also important in a narrow sense. Your broker should have experience in your own industry, or at least similar industries, to represent you effectively. There are such large differences between classes of business insurance and such a steep learning curve present that having existing experience is basically required to operate efficiently and effectively. Experienced companies will not make mistakes and can draw on their knowledge to provide the value you need from your insurance policy.

Exhaustive & Reputable Insurance Markets

The supply chain is a critical aspect of the Insurance industry, as policies are provided by insurance companies (like Intact or Aviva), not the brokers themselves. Because the insurance companies are the ones providing the actual product, it’s important for a broker to have access to a large variety of different insurance companies. This will allow the broker to use competition to your advantage (comparing companies against one another), and will also ensure that they have the ability to provide all the coverage you require. Because many insurance companies are highly specialized, having a small number of potential companies may limit the types of insurance a broker can use, which can limit the value you strive to get out of your policy. Ask potential brokers about their markets, see if you recognize the names, and understand how important they are to your insurance.

Strong Working Relationship with Insurance Markets

The other side of the supply chain is the relationship between brokers and the companies themselves. A strong bond between the two will allow for faster communication, more flexible underwriting and a greatly improved level of customer service. This will help you in emergencies (when something needs to be done immediately), but also in regular day to day service (where you get the information you need, as soon as you need it). A strong working relationship is remarkably efficient, and this efficiency is passed onto you as value.

As such, it’s critical to determine the relationship between a potential broker and insurance company before you agree to a policy. You can look on a Broker’s website or social media platforms to see if they have been regularly partnering with insurance companies, or check an insurance company’s website to see if a potential broker is mentioned. A little bit of homework beforehand can really improve your companies chances at a successful insurance experience between it, its broker, and its insurance company.

Risk Management Skills

Insurance is a way to transfer risk, but just as it is in any business, there is a tradeoff between risk and reward. Although it is impossible assume zero risk in business, you can use insurance to transfer a significant portion of it. Understanding how to walk the tightrope between containing risk while keeping premiums affordable is perhaps the most important attribute your insurance broker can have, and one that is very difficult to measure. Watch the options your broker offers you, how focused the broker is on price, and be mindful of cheap alternatives – there is a reason that insurance is being provided at a lower cost, and sometimes it is not a good one.

A Commitment to you

Finally, an extremely important and often overlooked aspect of the Insurance field is the level of importance your broker places on you. Brokers have multiple clients and that is understandable, but you should never give your business to a firm that won’t make you its priority when you need its help. That’s what McDougall Insurance has been doing for over 65 years, because when you work with us, you become family. So check out our Business Insurance Quote or give us a call at 1-800-361-0941, and join our family. And get your value.