This summer marks Colin Simpson’s two-year anniversary as CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO). According to Simpson, a definite highlight of his time leading the association has been the people he’s had the opportunity to interact with.

“The large number of good, honest people that you get to meet in the insurance industry always amazes me,” he says. “One of the best parts of my job is definitely working with all the enthusiastic individuals in the marketplace. And some of them have exceptional knowledge on different aspects of our business and innovative ideas on how to progress the distribution channel and move things forward.”

Helping brokers go forward is something the IBAO is very interested in. With consumer expectations continuing to change, the organization has been working on a blueprint for an industry solution to address the issue of data connectivity.

“We’ve been working diligently over the last 12 months to figure out how to facilitate data connectivity in the marketplace,” says Simpson. “Ensuring that our distribution model can respond to consumers in the way that they choose – which is digitally – is really pushing us down a path to look at alternative ways we can connect the industry together.”

On May 24, the IBAO held an Industry Strategy Meeting in Toronto to work through solutions on an industry-wide data connectivity model. It was attended by brokers along with representatives from 18 insurance companies and 10 different technology vendors.

“The meeting was excellent and very productive,” Simpson says. “We outlined some of the challenges for data connectivity in the industry. And came up with a proposed approach to try and resolve the challenges. And everybody in the room agreed to support the project.

“The big issue we’re trying to resolve is how to get the technology and the data into brokers’ hands so that they can offer consistent service to consumers. We have to get to the point where we aren’t competing on moving data around. We should be competing on products, price and service. If we can’t figure out how to move the data around, Amazon will and then we’re going to be stuck.”

In addition to spearheading this data connectivity initiative, the IBAO is continuing its advocacy and education work. It’s also making strides to enhance the learning experiences it offers to current and next generation insurance brokers.

“We’re upgrading all of our internal systems to ensure that we’re delivering our education offerings on modern platforms. We also upgraded our education environment that Gore Mutual has very thankfully sponsored and it looks fantastic. We went through a strategic planning exercise about a year-and-a-half ago to get a real sense of what we can be doing to help our members, and these activities align with that.”

When asked how he’d like to see the IBAO continue to evolve, Simpson offers the following.

“Everything we do has to be meaningful to the industry. If we don’t remain relevant to the industry then we’ll fail. So we have to evolve as the industry evolves.

“We have to figure out how to continue to help our insurance company partners and our broker members as we all move forward. We’re all in the same industry and our futures are tied together. We have to work together to move the industry forward and then we’ll all benefit.”

Want to learn more about the IBAO? Visit the association’s official website here.

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