We are an Insurance Brokerage. We provide professional advice to our customers to ensure that they have the coverage they need, choosing from a variety of insurers. Our mission is: We provide value to our customers by offering them peace of mind through choice. Our values are Family, Integrity, Authenticity and Innovation.
Tell us about yourself?
I spent the early part of my career working at another family-owned business, Southland Registrations – a Province of Alberta Registry Agent – starting on the front counter and working my way up to a management position, eventually becoming the COO. In 2000, my parents purchased out their partners’ interest in both Southland and Lundgren & Young, and I joined the board of Lundgren & Young and began looking after the monthly financials. In 2006, an opportunity arose for me to move to Lundgren & Young Insurance into a management role full-time, and I moved into the role of VP of Finance & Administration. My title changed a few times through the years, but I always was primarily on the finance and admin side. I also managed a branch office and looked after a small book of business. In 2014, I purchased a 50 per cent share of Lundgren & Young from my parents and continued to work in the business as President & CEO. In 2021, we entered into a strategic partnership with the Excel Insurance Group – a group consisting of independent brokerages throughout Alberta – thus creating Excel & Y Insurance Services, which we operate under today.
I didn’t necessarily choose insurance as my path. I had an opportunity to join our family business(es) and found that this industry is an amazing and challenging one. Many people have the perception that insurance is boring. It is anything but! So, short answer, like many people, I “fell” into insurance versus choosing it.
I have also done some volunteer work with various organizations. I am a past president of the Association of Alberta Registry Agents (AARA), past president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA), and the current, past president and chair of the board of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada(IBAC). I have previously sat on the board of the Canadian Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) and have also been involved in some local charitable organizations. I am also the Governor of Alberta for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
We are celebrating our 40th year in business in 2023.
I married my wonderful and supportive husband, Neil, in 2018, and we have three furbabies – Rooney, Beckham and Gibbs. We live in Calgary most of the time, with visits to our summer cottage in Manitoba and spending time with my parents in Phoenix in the winter months. We love to game, golf, and travel, and we ride Harleys in our free time.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Patience. You have a plan, an amazing team of people, and a vision – it will all come together, and there is light at the end of the tunnel! You are on the right path.
What problem does your business solve?
We provide advice prior to and at the point of purchase of insurance, and we do so by providing a suite of products through a variety of insurance carriers to ensure that you have the best fit. Insurance and its coverages can be complicated, and we help our customers – both individuals and businesses – find the right coverage to protect them and their families or businesses in the event of a claim.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
I’m not sure I can answer this. Our founder, Jack Lundgren, started out by placing handwritten notes on people’s vehicles and doors offering insurance services. Today, the inspiration behind our business is our customers. We believe that our customers are best served by an Insurance Broker. We are solving problems, but primarily, we are a bit of a grudge purchase. It is a requirement by law in many cases to carry insurance. We want to make the insurance process as painless as possible for our customers and ensure that in the event the worst happens, they are confident that they have received the advice and coverage that they need, so they know that they will be looked after.
What is your magic sauce?
Probably a trite answer, but truly our team and also our independence. We have brokers and a team of managers and support staff that truly care about our customers and ensure that they are looked after.
Our independence – we remain a family-owned and operated company, serving over 15,000 Albertans! Consolidation is a real thing in our industry. Many insurers are purchasing or investing in brokerages. In addition, a number of brokers are expanding exponentially, backed by venture capital or private equity. We are not owned, nor do we have any direct influence from any one insurance company, so we can truly offer advice on the best insurance products with the right market without any conflict.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our Vision is to be a leading Canadian Brokerage providing premier advice, choice, and advocacy to our customers for all their insurance needs.
We have already made a lot of changes. Currently, we are in the process of upgrading our technology. This will allow our team to provide a better customer experience for our customers by streamlining processes and making things easier on the back end for our brokers and support team. We want to write quality business for our partners while ensuring that all our customers are looked after. We want to grow, but we want to do this first by maximizing our existing client base, ensuring that we are their broker of choice for all of their insurance and not just parts of it! We want to build on our brand and continue to grow our client base, and perhaps, eventually, expand our offering to other provinces.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
At one point, our brokerage only had three insurer partners to place business with. This created significant challenges for our brokerage as we were unable to offer, in many cases, competitive coverages and pricing to both our existing and potential new customers. Over the past four years, we have made a concerted effort to work on building our team and creating a new focus on customer experience and quality of business. We definitely hit some bumps along the way and made some mistakes, but we have learned from those and adapted our processes to be better for both our customers and our insurer partners. Our partnership with Excel Insurance Group changed our course. It allowed us to increase the number of insurer partners we write business with, offering both a competitive and expansive insurance offering for our customers while providing an excellent customer experience. Finding and recruiting new people interested in an insurance career is our current challenge – particularly those that may be interested in a sales role.
How can people get involved?
We put our customers first and believe that you should expect MORE from your broker. Our entire team is focused on providing an excellent customer experience that exemplifies our values. If you are interested in speaking to one of our brokers about insurance, you can find us at www.excelandy.ca or email us at [email protected]
We are also always looking for great people. If you are sales oriented and looking for a change, email us at [email protected] or call me at 403-444-7363.