Interesting Niches l Unions  
With Roger Chen, VP Marketing & Communications, Breckles Group of Companies 
The Breckles Group of Companies  includes a strategic brokerage called CLIS Inc., which stands for Canadian Labour  Insurance Services, a national brokerage staffed by unionized employees that provides group home and auto insurance to union members.
How much of your book is union clients?  
Ninety five percent of our business at CLIS Inc. is union member business. On the  Commercial side, we provide a unique service and custom insurance products for unions and their local offices. We’re proud to offer the only national unionized brokerage in Canada, dedicating our marketing efforts to meet union needs. 
What are the challenges unique to insuring unions?   
Product and market availability can sometimes require a significant amount of our time to find a solution. Unions are viewed to be a difficult class for some coverages, and we need to invest our time in educating underwriters to help them understand labour unions. The process also involves unions working with us to make the solution work on their end. The ability to bring all parties together is part of our value. For this reason, it’s imperative we focus on our culture within the client’s organization because client leadership roles at all levels are elected and turnover is frequent. Our culture within these  unions allows us to have frequent touch points to ensure our purpose and value are  carried forward.   
What features are included in coverage?   
Manuscript wordings for General Liability include provisions for picketing or lockouts. We succeed in having this changed for all of a particular underwriter’s policy wordings to the benefit of the client.    There are many other unique features—obtaining coverage for D&O that includes Collective Bargaining, Local Union office packages, multi-carrier group home and auto insurance, and a provision allowing unionized contractors for claims reparations. Most unique: in the event of a claim to a unionized member, unionized contractors are often sought as the preferred choice for restoration work. 
Do you have to do something specific to target this segment?  
Targeting requires the investment of marketing support and brokerage resources to attend national and regional events, visit unions on a regular basis and have high engagement with members digitally.    The charitable nature of the unions we work with requires alignment with our core business values.  Doing business with our union clients means being part of their charity by supporting their initiatives and being visible as a partner.  Last and most important is our key pillar—the strategic partnership we have with our multiple insurance carriers. The two–way dialogue with our insurance partners enables us to provide a unique offering to our union client base. 
How has the pandemic impacted this niche?
Union revenue has been impacted due to layoffs. And decreased membership dues forced the unions to ground vehicle and  reduce other insurance needs. Cancellation of conventions and charitable fundraisers, and closed offices have limited  some of the more  traditional ways of developing relationships.  
SHAREemail sharing iconLinkedin sharing iconFacebook sharing iconTwitter sharing icon
TOB_logo.svgMenu icon
Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
1 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700
Toronto, ON M4P 3A1
416.488.7422 | 800.268.8845
Follow Us
Copyright © 2020 by Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.