As part of its strategy to build its presence in Quebec, the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (CAILBA) recently welcomed Groupe Cloutier as a member and appointed Michel Kirouac to its board of directors. CAILBA has other managing general agency (MGA) members in Quebec, but Kirouac is the first Quebecer to sit on the board of directors.
CAILBA, an MGA association, has accentuated its presence in Quebec not only by adding members from the province, but also by integrating representatives within its organization, CAILBA president Michael Williams told The Insurance and Investment Journal.
Williams, who is also president of the MGA agent BridgeForce Financial Group, wants to use his second term at the helm of the CAILBA to boost its numbers across Canada.
CAILBA’s strategy in Quebec is crucial, Williams points out. “If we want to be a national organization, we must have representation across Canada,” he explains. In addition to Groupe Cloutier, CAILBA’s Quebec-based members include Copoloff Insurance Agencies, PEAK Insurance Services and MSA Financial. Other CAILBA members located outside Quebec have offices in the province, notably Hub Financial, Financial Horizons Group and PPI.
When he became president of CAILBA in 2013, Michael Williams was already convinced that a representative of a Quebec-based MGA should sit on the board. Appointing the vice-president and general manager of Groupe Cloutier, Michel Kirouac, was a natural decision for Williams. “Michel is well known and respected in Quebec and we look to him to develop our presence there and to meet other MGAs in Quebec.”
He adds that CAILBA has relationships with several industry players. “As an organization, we have a lot of influence on many things,” Williams explains. “Regulation is the new world that we live in, and we want to do what is right for the industry.
CAILBA plans to hold meetings in Quebec in 2015 to explain to MGAs the advantages of joining the association. These advantages include having the strength of a group, Williams says.
Building the CAILBA member base in Quebec is one of Kirouac’s goals, but not the only one. He also wants to help CAILBA size up the Quebec insurance and distribution market and forge ties with other industry groups like the Corporation des professionnels en services financiers (CDPSF) and the Professional Association of Financial Services Advisors (PAFSA).
Kirouac is also aiming to boost francophone representation in the Association and at other events. “I helped organize the annual CAILBA convention to encourage Quebec advisors to participate, whether they are members or not,” Kirouac told The Insurance and Investment Journal in an interview. He also wants to see more Quebec-based insurance companies join CAILBA. For now, Desjardins Insurance, Industrial Alliance and SSQ Financial Group are on board. Previously there was Standard Life, since acquired by Manulife Financial. La Capitale is a member through Penncorp, renamed La Capitale Financial Security in 2013.
Kirouac thinks that even small MGAs could benefit from joining the association. For example, “The association can help them if they have trouble organizing their compliance programs,” Kirouac explains.
The next step for CAILBA is to overcome the language barrier, he adds. “The language barrier may partly explain why there are fewer members in Quebec. CAILBA wants to make all the tools available in French and needs our help to do that,” he adds.