With nearly two decades worth of Commercial insurance experience, earlier this year Gore Mutual’s Jennifer Borges took on an exciting new challenge by becoming our Commercial Auto Manager.
We caught up with her to chat about her role, the continued evolution of our Commercial department, the importance of relationship building and mentorship. Let’s see what she had to say.
How long have you been at Gore Mutual? What attracted you to the insurance industry?
I’ve worked here for 18 years. To be honest, I started in the insurance industry by chance. I was looking for a summer job after finishing a co-op placement at an optometrist’s office. That’s when I was offered a summer contract role in the Personal Lines department. When my six-week contract was up, Commercial Lines approached me with a position since they needed someone to assist with data processing. The rest is history.
There is a depth and complexity to the Commercial side of insurance that just drew me in and got me hooked. It’s something that continues to make this job interesting and exciting.
What are some things you love about working here?
What I’ve always loved about working at Gore Mutual is the people and the culture. Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with truly amazing people and have had incredible colleagues and mentors.
My very first mentor was a Commercial Underwriting Assistant – she was that “go-to person” who knew every aspect of the Commercial business. No matter what kind of question I had, I always knew I could go to her for guidance. Her mentorship had a big impact on me, especially in those early years when I was young and new to the company and industry. Seeing how long she’d been with Gore Mutual and how much love and loyalty she had for her job and colleagues affected me deeply. Above all, she was very knowledgeable, and I loved that and strived to emulate it. She taught me a lot and gave me the confidence to take on different roles within the department, which has been invaluable for my career.
Earlier this year, you transitioned to our Manager of Commercial Auto. What excited you about this opportunity and how did your previous experience help you prepare for this role?
I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and with our Next Horizon strategy, there’s a lot of opportunity to expand and grow our Commercial Auto portfolio. Much of my career has been on the Property and Casualty side. I’ve always wanted to develop my underwriting knowledge along both lines so when this opportunity was presented, I was happy to accept it. This role allows me to expand my underwriting skills while also being involved in an amazing growth opportunity. Our exceptional Auto team also made it an easy decision for me.
My previous position as a Senior Underwriter helped me greatly in this transition. With that role, I had the opportunity to mentor many newcomers to our department. I always took great pride in this and loved being able to help people develop and grow their knowledge. I hope to continue doing this with our Commercial Auto team.
What do you want brokers to know about our Commercial Auto offerings?
I want brokers to know that behind our offerings, we have a truly wonderful and talented Commercial Auto team. We’re committed to service and are striving to become a larger mid-market player in the industry. Our growth and retention speak volumes for what Commercial Auto at Gore Mutual has to offer. Our consistency and stability in our writings helps build trust with our broker partners. On top of all of that, we have knowledgeable Underwriters who are always there to offer competitive pricing and great service. I love it when I hear brokers says things like, “Wow, you really came to the table on that risk for us!”
Our Commercial department has evolved a lot in recent years and continues to transform itself. How do you think this will benefit the team along with our brokers and customers?
The evolution here has been incredible. Having been at Gore Mutual for as long as I have, it’s thrilling to see these ideas and developments move forward and take shape. Gore Mutual is amazing at involving everyone in the transformation process, from Underwriters to brokers to customers. We look at all aspects of the business and the effects they will have on each player.
A big part of this is focusing on specific areas of business where we can find efficiencies. In that sense, it will help our broker partners because creating efficiencies internally will give us more time to spend building those relationships. Relationship building is a huge part of our business and our transformation is enabling us to lean into this even further. And that puts us at an advantage and allows us to grow in the right way so that it benefits both our broker partners and our customers.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Never be afraid to challenge things or ask questions. Over the years, I’ve learned that thinking “inside the box” or doing what we’ve always done is often not the right solution. The best career advice I’ve ever gotten is to challenge this mindset and challenge it with confidence. Your opinion matters. Some of my greatest career experiences have been through constructive discussions which sometimes even turned into debates. Seriously, who doesn’t love a good insurance debate?
Progress is already well underway for Gore Mutual’s ambitious Next Horizon strategy. What excites you about the company’s plans for the future?
For me, the most exciting thing about our transformation is the growth. Gore Mutual has so much to offer and an amazing team to deliver it. As I mentioned before, finding those efficiencies within the business will allow us to deepen our relationships with our partners and customers and that’s a wonderful thing. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us all. Next Horizon will truly change insurance for good. Exciting times are ahead!
What’s something people might not know about you?
I love the outdoors. In the spring, summer and fall you can find me canoeing and backcountry camping with my husband and our two young daughters. My husband is an Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association instructor and teaches canoeing lessons as a hobby, which means that I really have to prove my capabilities as a canoeist when he’s watching! I recently spent a day white-water canoeing, something I highly recommend everyone tries at least once.