May 10, 2021— THE MAIN priority for the new president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba is strengthening the relationship between its members and the province’s government-owned auto insurer.
Brett McGregor, president of Guild/HMS Insurance Group in Brandon., Man., told Thompson’s that brokers in the province have had a challenging relationship with Manitoba Public Insurance recently, largely due to differing views about what the role of brokers will be once the insurer starts selling policies online in 2023.
“There was a lot of discussion about where the broker brings value,” Mr. McGregor said.
“I think there was a real significant question about what the future of brokers selling Autopac was in the province as that system shifted online and we’re really challenging MPI on the fact that brokers bring value and will continue to bring value in an online system. Just because somebody self-serves online doesn’t mean that they don’t need a broker at other points in the lifecycle with Autopac.”
The two organizations have been working through a conciliation process over the past year and have made progress in settling that issue, especially since MPI appointed Eric Herbelin as president and CEO in January, Mr. McGregor said.
“We’ve already met with their leadership, and their new CEO has been fantastic,” he said.
“We are working on a plan to actively reset that relationship. Having an adversarial relationship doesn’t help anyone. A year from now I want to look back and be more on a partner level.”
Mr. McGregor took over as president of IBAM at the association’s recent general meeting. He has been with Guild/HMS since 2003 and also works with the Brandon Area Community Foundation, which provides grants and community services in the area.
He said IBAM will be working over the next several years to help its members shift to serving customers in an online environment with training and other assistance, including a technology training conference planned for the fall.
The association represents more than 2,000 p&c insurance brokers and 300 offices in over 120 communities across Manitoba.
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