Allow me to introduce you to one of the most competent associations in our province. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) is a voluntary membership organization serving the interests of more than 12,000 independent insurance brokers across the Province of Ontario. IBAO represents members’ interests to government ministries and regulatory bodies, as well as to insurance industry commissions and associations. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, a lead sponsor of OLIP, is recognized as the authoritative voice of Ontario’s independent brokers. Through membership in the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC), IBAO also ensures that the needs of Ontario’s independent brokers are taken into account whenever governments or the insurance industry seek to introduce policy shifts that affect brokers and consumers across the country.
I was welcomed by the friendly staff at the IBAO Headquarters in mid-September and was soon put to work! My first task, just days prior to the provincial general election, was to contact members of the association throughout the province and encourage them to reach out to their local candidates to promote IBAO’s image. A few days after the election, I was busy gathering the contact information of newly elected MPPs and updating the database of incumbents who did not get re-elected. I was then approached by the CEO with a request to draft a congratulatory letter to the newly elected MPPs and a note of gratitude for the outgoing members.
I had the opportunity of meeting with the IBAO representatives at Queen’s Park, Policy Concepts, who specialize in government relations for a number of industries. I got to ask a wide range of questions about the interaction between the private sector and provincial government, and most importantly: what ‘Queen’s Park Days’ are all about. Halfway through my mini-placement, IBAO’s CEO invited me to meet their government relations and public affairs team in Ottawa. Impact Public Affairs is IBAO’s representative at Parliament Hill and they hosted me at their modern office downtown Ottawa for a couple of days. I was trusted with the opportunity of doing some work on behalf of Impact during my visit to the capital; I updated contacts of newly elected committee members and contacted MP’s offices for potential meetings. While in Ottawa, I also had a chance to meet for the first time with one of the Parliamentary Interns (OLIP’s counterpart programme at the Hill) and learned more about each other’s programs.
Finally, the last few days of my mini-placement at IBAO were spent helping-out staff during their 91st Annual Conference. This is a huge undertaking for the association as they host over 3,000 members at the Royal York Hotel for days of conferences, seminars, workshops, courses, and award presentations. I was invited to the speaker’s presentations, some of which included Jason Ryan Dorsey (‘The Gen Y Guy’) and Stuart Knight (‘The Art of Powerful Conversation’). I also attended various networking dinners as well as their famous ‘hospitality night’.
I am extremely thankful to IBAO, its members, staff, Board of Directors, and Mr. Randy Carroll – CEO, for allowing me to intrude in their work space in order for me to gain an invaluable work experience. I was able to interact with many different organizations and meet professionals with very diverse backgrounds. I have gained a much better understanding and personal appreciation for government relations from a business perspective.