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How to make purchasing insurance less of a hassle

Colin Marshall of Will Marshall Insurance Brokers sheds light on how independent brokers can help find the best insurance products
2019 Colin
Colin Marshall of Will Marshall Insurance Brokers says insurance does not have to be complicated (supplied photo)

Insurance is one of those things that you really need, but you don’t necessarily enjoy shopping for. We decided to ask an expert to find out how to make purchasing insurance less of a hassle.

Village Media's Content Studio spoke with Colin Marshall, Vice President of Will Marshall Insurance Brokers and Chartered Insurance Professional, and he helped shed some light on the confusing world of insurance. Will Marshall Insurance Brokers has been serving the Barrie area for almost 40 years. 

There seem to be a few different ways of buying insurance. What is the difference between buying directly from the insurance company, using an agent, or using a broker?

“In the province of Ontario there are three distribution models. Direct, which involves the customer dealing directly with the insurance company or bank; Agents who sell for only one insurer; and Brokers who represent multiple insurance carriers.

Independent brokers are becoming few and far between. Most of our local brokers in the area have been purchased by large conglomerates outside the city. Because of that our office is now the largest locally owned insurance brokerage in Barrie.” 

What kind of qualifications do brokers need in Ontario? 

“Brokers are required to hold a Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario ‘RIBO’ license and obtain eight hours of education each year. The law also holds a broker to a higher duty of care than direct writers or agents, meaning that brokers must always keep the clients’ best interests in mind. Brokers have a legal obligation to offer higher coverage limits and to disclose more options.”

How can an insurance broker help me to get the best insurance for my circumstances?

“An insurance broker will make the time to explain the differences between policies. Although it is not overly interesting, it becomes very interesting at claim time.

Insurance can be a complicated purchase. We don’t brag about having the cheapest car, cheapest real estate broker, cheapest lawyer, or the cheapest clothes; when I hear people talking about their insurance it's about what they pay per month. Insurance is not a phone bill and when you get a good deal you might be missing something important. 

I provide quotes and when I lose on price it is usually because I am selling more coverage. I would rather sell the right coverage than make a sale and worry about what I sold.

Brokers act on behalf of the client not the insurance company. Occasionally we do have to get involved in the claims process to help guide the insurance company, explain the value of the lost asset, or overturn a claim denial. Our office will give advice on possible claim situations. We advocate for our clients so they don’t have to argue with the insurance company or understand policy wordings.” 

What should I look for in an insurance broker? 

“Brokerage offices are not all created equal and it is important you have some conversations with them. Our brokerage spends countless hours making sure the client is look after and the insurance company is kept honest. We put in the extra hours and go above and beyond because it is the right thing to do. 

Insurance is a lot about trust as we sell an intangible product. We never want to use our insurance, we never want to pay for it, and we don’t know what we have until we have a bad day. My goal is to try and make sure that the coverage available does not contribute to a worse day.” 

The friendly and helpful team at Will Marshall Insurance Brokers offers a full host of insurance services including travel, automobile, residential, business, farm, and recreational insurance. Insurance does not have to be complicated when you have a professional looking out for you. 

Find out more about how they can help you with your insurance needs by calling their Barrie office at (705) 726-2551 or their Orillia office at (705) 326-5664. Their offices are located at 264 Burton Avenue in Barrie and 319 Laclie Street in Orillia. You can also find out more on their website, Facebook, or Twitter