Introducing Suzanne Pountney, IBAO’s New President

By Erin Kruk, Marketing & Communications, IBAO | Photos by Jason Gordon

Get to know IBAO’s 78th President and the sixth woman in IBAO’s history to hold the position. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. These well-known lyrics from Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up, now reign as IBAO President Suzanne Pountney’s mantra for the upcoming year.

As she took the stage at IBAO Convention 2022 for her Incoming President’s speech, it was Astley’s infamous song that blared over the speakers, effectively Rickrolling the entire Convention. That was last October, and still to this day, she’s making the song her own. As an industry, last year’s Convention marked the first back in-person, post-pandemic, it also marked the first change to our Association’s President in three years. With the change of guard, comes new perspective, a new approach and a new three-year strategic plan delivered by Suzanne, the IBAO and the Board of Directors.

As an industry leader, Suzanne delivers the perfect mix of friendliness, relatability, and warmth, complemented by a don’t mess with me attitude—she is the insurance best friend you didn’t know you needed, and she’s got your back. 

Get to know Suzanne in 250 words or less: a self-proclaimed music-aholic with a book always on the go, a dog lover, people lover, avid cottage goer—passionate about insurance, mentoring new brokers and making a difference, she believes a good idea can come from anywhere and never shies away from a challenge. Suzanne Pountney is a force. 


“So, who here was born into insurance? Who fell into it? I fell into it. Hard. Like Tom Petty.” Following her epic walk-out at Convention, Suzanne went on to recall her start in the industry. Now, a 31-year industry veteran, Suzanne chose insurance after failing to get into teacher’s college—and what a fortunate failure that was. After taking the IBAO Basic Broker course she wrote her RIBO license and was off to the races in August of 1991.

“As soon as I got my licence my boss added me to his IBAO membership and took me to my first London affiliate meeting. I remember walking in and there were about 40 brokers. I was introduced and after a few monthly meetings I felt at home. I loved listening to brokers’ stories, the current issues, the future plans. I loved being part of that community. And I still do.”

Today, Suzanne is the Commercial Lines Manager at Ontario West Insurance Brokers in London—she’s also been on the IBAO Board of Directors since fall 2019 and has served on the London Insurance Brokers Association’s board for twelve years including three terms as its President. In addition, she has played a vital role in IBAO’s DEI Committee, acting as Chair since its inception in 2020, working to create a culture of belonging within the association, its membership and the broader insurance community. 

With three decades in the insurance industry under her belt, along with her impressive volunteer credentials, she has a firm grasp of what has worked and what hasn’t and a clear vision of what she sees for the future and the goals she wants to achieve during her time as IBAO President.  

Suzanne, in conjunction with the Board of Directors and the IBAO, delivered a new three-year strategic plan that’s proven to be pivotal for the association—increasing member value to ensure the broker channel remains the best choice for both consumers and carriers. With a backdrop of significant M&A activity within the industry, increasing inflation and a period of regulatory evolution, under Suzanne’s leadership, the IBAO will continue to invest in and evolve key resources in its most valued strategic pillars including Licensing & Education, Advocacy, and Promoting the Broker Value Proposition.


Going hand in hand with Suzanne’s warm disposition is a laser-focus to getting the job done and done right. “There are many challenges on the horizon—auto reform, regulatory changes, talent acquisition and retention, and generating awareness about the independent broker channel, to name a few.” 

Only a month into the job and Suzanne has an already impressive list of achievements—proving by not only her words, but action that she is a strong representative of the IBAO from coast to coast. To date, she has represented IBAO at the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba Convention, Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta Convention, Insurance Brokers Association of NWO Conference, SGI Broker Convention and IBAC’s Hill Day—and that was in thirty days, we can’t wait to see where the next 335 will take her.


Having watched the industry change and evolve over three decades, Suzanne gave her prediction on what the industry will look like 50 years from now. 

“The independent broker channel will be alive and well, especially as risks become more complex. That, and, if I consider how much has changed in just my time in the industry, I wonder if we’ll be insuring personal spacecraft, or builders’ risks on Mars…but that’s a conversation for another time.” 

Experience is just one of the many impressive, Presidential qualities Suzanne brings to the table. Despite all the knowledge she’s gained, there isn’t much she’d pass on to her 20-year-old self.

“I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, but I wish I had known better how to advocate for myself. I wish I’d known how to seek a mentor and formalize that process, so I got the most out of it. Mistakes could have been avoided, but those mistakes also brought me to where I am in my career and for that, I wouldn’t trade them. No regrets!”

Well said.

A devoted mentor, Suzanne prides herself on knowledge sharing and making connections with rising talent in the insurance industry, crediting her passion for mentorship and coaching to Rodney Hancock—someone who set a great example of the impact you can make on someone’s career. 

“While I have never had a formal mentor, there have been many who have influenced me. Rodney stands out though. Rodney was there for me at the beginning when he taught the property part of the Basic Broker Course, he supported me as President of my local affiliate and wrote a letter of recommendation when we won Affiliate of the year. He was supportive of me when I stepped into the territory director role—I remember him telling me that it was often a thankless job, but then there he was offering his thanks. He always had a kind word and good advice. I’ve missed seeing him in the crowd knowing he was cheering me on these last couple of years.

“Now I love teaching, I love coaching and mentoring new brokers. I love the people side of this business from customers to colleagues. Some of the very best people I know I’ve met through my work in the industry. They make the hard days easier.” 

Isn’t that the truth. 

It’s clear that Suzanne, along with the IBAO and the Board of Directors are ready to make change, deliver action and have fun while doing it.

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down


Favourite piece of advice for brokers? 

Be curious, make connections, collaborate. We are a diverse group serving a diverse population. Embrace that.

Favourite song?

Hardest question there is! Zombie by the Cranberries is definitely top 5.

Favourite summer drink? 


Favourite industry event? 


Favourite part of the gig? 

Teaching, coaching and mentoring new brokers. I enjoy a good debate about coverage and markets and anything else industry related. Mostly I love the people. Some of the very best people I know I’ve met through my work in the industry. They make the hard days easier and the good days even better!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.