Carrie Dunning began her career in the insurance industry as a receptionist at an independent adjusting firm in Halifax. In the 20 years that have passed since then, she’s gone on to work in claims, underwriting, training and management roles. “Time definitely flies!” says Dunning.
She’s now the Personal Lines Manager at Lackner McLennan Insurance and Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers in Kitchener, Ontario. Lackner McLennan purchased Erb and Erb in 2016 bringing the two companies together. Both organizations have long histories in the Waterloo Region – Lackner McLennan has been operating for over 70 years and Erb and Erb celebrated their 100th anniversary on September 12.
Dunning enjoys that everyone at Lackner McLennan Insurance and Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers are very community focused and says they support a number of initiatives and organizations including Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, Lutherwood, the United Way, local sports teams and more.
We spoke with her about the insurance industry’s changing landscape and the opportunities it will create, Erb and Erb’s centennial celebrations, insuring a makeshift Batcave and more.
Why do you like working at your brokerage?
Our brokerage is full of wonderful people. Everyone works together. We have faced a lot of changes with merging two brokerages, moving locations and switching to a new broker management system in a short period of time. Adapting to change has been our strong point.
This year marks Erb and Erb’s 100th anniversary! How are you celebrating this fantastic accomplishment?
We held a big anniversary party on September 12 and invited long-term clients, insurance company partners, business partners and non-profits to attend. It was a fun way to say thank you to everyone for their support. In the coming months we hope to provide more funds to local non-profits and charity organizations to further celebrate our anniversary and to give back to the local communities who have given us so much over the years. We’re truly blessed to be in such a diverse, vibrant and dynamic region of Ontario.
A business turning 100 years old is no easy feat. What has helped Erb and Erb achieve this kind of longevity?
We have exceptional and very dedicated employees and clients, and we’ve worked hard to stay ahead of the curve when comes to adapting to the changing insurance industry. The firm also bolstered its offerings when it was acquired by Lackner McLennan in 2016. The acquisition enabled the two-long standing and reputable organizations to pursue a path of becoming one prominent team of professionals, devoted to advising and protecting families and businesses here in the growing Region of Waterloo and across Canada.
The world of insurance is changing. What new opportunities do you see for brokers and customers going forward?
While there are basic fundamentals of insurance that will likely always remain in place, the continued evolution of digital offerings, social media platforms and shared economies such as Airbnb and Uber will will likely continue to evolve in one form or another. The opportunities in this changing landscape will lead to the evolution of new and improved products and technologies. This will also lead to new and advanced systems, processes and procedures that will enhance the client experience and offering.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever been asked to insure?
A brokerage I once worked for was asked to insure a home where the garage floor rotated so when the person drove into the garage, it would rotate so he was facing the front. It was like Batman being in the Batcave!
What was your first job? What’s something that you learned or took away from it?
I worked at McDonald’s. I started off on cash and made my way up to a supervisor role. I worked there through high school and university. From this job, I learned the importance of teamwork and also how to start leading people.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Never miss the opportunity to do the right thing. Integrity is key.
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.
I love rain. I love listening to it and even sleep with an app that plays the sound of rain.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t working in insurance, I’d be …
running a dog sanctuary for rescues!
What are some of the reasons why you like working with Gore Mutual?
We love working with Gore because they are a Canadian company. They are dedicated to the broker channel and are do a lot of work to support Canadian communities. We also love our underwriter, Trish Audit! She makes it easy to do business with Gore Mutual.
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