Reducing Risk With Comprehensive Insurance Solutions
HUB International was founded in 1998 in Canada. With the goal of bringing strong, regional insurance brokers together, HUB began to acquire top firms across North America to increase its talent and strength. Today, HUB provides customers the same high level of expertise regardless of their location or insurance need.
HUB International Canada President, Tina Osen notes, “When we started, we brought five insurance brokers together in Canada and, fast forward to today, our Canadian operations are running on a run rate of about $640 million in commission and fee income, and HUB is the fifth-largest insurance broker in the world.”
HUB employs more than 11,000 people across approximately 450 offices throughout Canada and the U.S. When it considers potential insurance brokers for acquisition, it looks for that particular entrepreneurial spirit on which it was founded. The aim is not only to bring enhanced capabilities to the company, but to also ensure that the partnership will be a cultural fit. “What I think is magical about HUB is the genuine care that our employees have for our customers and also for each other,” said Osen.
As a result of its size, HUB can provide all types of insurance from home and automobile to complex, commercial risks. Its diverse book of business does not end with property and casualty insurance: HUB also offers retirement insurance, employee benefits, life insurance, and all the other complementary services to supply its clients with full insurance solutions.
As HUB continues to grow by acquisition, it is also expanding organically. Currently, it has a focus on several specialty areas prioritized for investment and resources: healthcare, hospitality, real estate, financial institutions, construction, transportation, entertainment, and agriculture are areas of potential growth for HUB. Within these practices are sub-practices, such as the cannabis industry within the agriculture sector.
“Cannabis, of course, is a significant emerging industry and an area where we are dedicating a lot of time, resource, and education to our team so they can be best-in-class for our customers,” said Osen.
HUB got involved in the cannabis industry in 2014 as recreational use began to be legalized in the U.S. and, by 2017, it was providing insurance to cannabis-related businesses across North America. Today, it has a wide range of cannabis clients in thirty-three states in the U.S. and fourteen countries worldwide. The cannabis industry comes with plenty of complicated challenges and hurdles, particularly due to the regulatory differences in each country and state, and it can be an intimidating market. HUB is one of the top insurance brokers in the world to have a national and international presence in the cannabis sector, which speaks volumes about the organization.
“HUB believes in cannabis. It believes in the industry itself, and wants to show support,” said HUB International U.S. Cannabis Segment Leader T.J. Frost. “HUB wanted to come together as a collective group to make sure we put our footprint on an industry that we believe in.”
In the last five years, HUB has enjoyed watching the progression of the cannabis industry as it changes almost daily. It is excited about the trends and the direction it is moving as more and more insurance carriers get involved, while the restrictions are slowly being reduced.
In this brand new industry, it is especially advantageous to choose an insurance broker with significant experience in specialty services as well as broader insurance services. “This industry is in its infancy stage, so it’s important to be extremely cautious. There are a lot of local brokers that dabble in the industry, stick their toe in the water, but you have to be able to know the industry as a whole, including local and state laws, as well as best practices to properly insure it, and that’s what we really want to focus on,” said Frost. HUB is investing in the resources that help its customers succeed in the cannabis industry which is part of what makes it a dependable, long-term partner.
There is an entire team at HUB solely dedicated to developing the expertise to fully understand the unique needs of the cannabis industry. Cannabis companies require general product liability, employee benefits, risk management, workers compensation, and much more. These companies also put their faith in their broker to know what they need and how to mitigate any risk or challenges they may face. This is why it is so crucial to have a broker that has experience with not just one cannabis company, but with several in multi-state or country risks.
“In the context of cannabis, we have worked diligently to build comprehensive insurance solutions for these businesses in the U.S. and Canada, and we have team members that are dedicated to finding those solutions which are tricky in the cannabis industry,” said Osen.
In Canada particularly, HUB is also focused on expanding the employee benefits and retirement insurance sector of its business. After setting a target of attaining $100 million in revenue in this area by 2020, the organization is well on track to achieve its goal. It has increased investments in talent, in-depth training, and resources to improve the service it delivers.
HUB believes that its rapid success in just twenty years has been due to its ongoing investment in its growth strategies and the direct result of its people who truly enjoy taking care of clients and genuinely respect each other.
The main differentiating factor for HUB these days is simply its size. “Our scale and the fact that we have this breadth of operations across the Canadian platform as well as into the U.S., it truly allows us to make those critical investments into the business that would be more challenging for a company that didn’t have the same scale as us, such as making the necessary investments in technology and other things to support their client experience,” said Osen.
As a massive organization, the most difficult challenge for HUB is the regular recruitment of capable employees at the right speed to keep up with its rapid growth. While not a unique struggle for large U.S. companies, HUB succeeds in attracting new people because it is clear to potential employees that HUB is an organization that can provide long-term support and help them build their career paths in the years to come.
“I think the reason why we’re able to succeed in bringing that talent into the fold is because they see our investments in some of these verticals and growth initiatives, and so for a new employee coming in, it is compelling,” said Osen.
The pace of growth is itself an appealing feature of working for HUB. Because of its size, there will never be a lack of opportunities and HUB is focused on maintaining its values even as it expands. Entrepreneurship, integrity, accountability, teamwork, and service will all remain guiding principles as it moves forward.
HUB Gives is a corporate initiative to give back and make a positive impact on the communities it serves. Separate HUB offices have individual charity presidents, and each president decides how to invest in local charities where help is most needed. Regional HUBs choose different meaningful projects and encourage all staff to donate their time and creativity to improve the lives of the residents within their community.
In the future, HUB plans to do more of what has made it so successful. It will keep up with its investments in expertise, talent, resources, and technology to ensure that it can enhance the customer experience.