A Century with McLean & Dickey

With Danielle Tisi, President, McLean & Dickey

McLean & Dickey has been serving Orilla since 1922, making this their 100th anniversary. As an IBAO Member from the start, they’re also celebrating 100 years of IBAO Membership—a milestone fewer than ten brokerages have achieved. 

How is the brokerage celebrating? Are you doing any client or charity initiatives? 

McLean & Dickey launched a series of monthly giveaways to help celebrate not only our 100 years in business, but also to spotlight some of the hidden (and not so hidden) gems in our communities—the places and experiences that make Simcoe County such an amazing place to live and work. Each month, the company is giving away a $100 gift card to a local business or event and promoting the giveaway through our social media channels, an email blast to clients and ads on radio and local news sites. Prizes have included gift cards to a popular breakfast diner, a cross-country skiing and biking experience, and weekend passes to the Mariposa Folk Festival. The response has been fantastic with each new giveaway gaining hundreds of entries.

We’ve also launched a 500-hours Volunteer Challenge with our team. McLean & Dickey has always promoted a spirit of volunteerism among our employees. Any employee, who wishes to volunteer their time to a local cause, can apply to have up to 15 hours a year of volunteer time paid for by the company. Our team has risen to the challenge and to date we are almost at 60% of our goal.

We’ve used this milestone as an opportunity to partner with two of our insurers to take on additional major sponsorships of community events including the Orillia Fall Fair with The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group and the Rama Pow Wow with Intact Public Entities.

Finally, our team came together to fundraise and participate in the Coldest Night of the Year event to raise money to fight homelessness. We’re proud to say that our staff raised over $4,600 and McLean & Dickey supported their efforts with a $1,000 donation. 

How has the brokerage evolved over the years?

McLean & Dickey was founded in 1922 by George McLean Sr. in downtown Orillia when the town had few paved streets and milk was delivered by cart and horse. Over the years, the brokerage developed a reputation for knowing their clients’ needs and providing exceptional customer service. George McLean eventually retired, passing on the business to his son, George Jr., who brought in new partners and solidified McLean & Dickey as Orillia’s leading insurance brokerage. Both George McLean Sr. and Jr. were former mayors of Orillia. In addition, George McLean Sr. served as a Member of Parliament under McKenzie King and George McLean Jr. was president of the IBAO.

In 2006, the partners decided that it was time to retire and the Tisi/Holenski family bought the company, retaining the original name. It was François Tisi who developed McLean & Dickey’s role as a strong community partner. While McLean & Dickey had always supported local charities and community groups, François believed that corporate social responsibility was intrinsic to the future success of the brokerage and the way it could make a significant impact in the community. Because of his leadership in this area, McLean & Dickey now supports over two dozen charities and fundraising events and its employees volunteer their time and skills to a variety of organizations.

As Orillia grew McLean & Dickey flourished, expanding into other markets and investing heavily in technology. By the mid 2000s, the company added a marine insurance division that eventually grew to become Canada’s largest personal watercraft insurance provider. It also was one of the first brokerages in the region to move to a computerized BMS and to create an IT department dedicated to supporting the brokerage. 

Today, McLean & Dickey is Orillia’s only independent locally owned insurance brokerage. While many things have changed since the time the company was founded, the brokerage’s reputation for understanding and serving clients’ needs remains at the forefront of everything we do. 

What’s your brokerage’s greatest achievement? 

McLean & Dickey’s greatest achievement is its people—the caliber and quality of its team members. The company’s values and culture attract people with deep expertise and professionalism, many of whom are long-term employees. This factor leads to an enviable reputation for exceptional client service and a corresponding high client retention rate. 

McLean & Dickey’s partners have always believed that growth is integral to the company’s long-term success. Growth provides new opportunities for our existing employees and allows us to both retain and attract new talent. The company is looking at developing further into the digital space in order to meet our clients’ needs where and when they want. 

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