Ryan Spilar – inductee on Insurance Business Canada’s Young Guns 2016 list – is a commercial, group and life producer for Heart Lake Insurance Brokers. In this interview, we find out what makes this avid outdoorsman tick, and how his interests in insurance and volunteer work overlap.
• You were previously a senior benefits analyst with Canada Protection Plan; what was the experience like, and what made you decide to switch to Heart Lake?
Working at Canada Protection Plan made me what I am today. It gave me the base from which I was able to transition into Heart Lake Insurance. Life insurance is my background and my true area of expertise and that’s thanks to CPP. I was able to take the skills I learned there and effectively use them on the brokerage side. Working on the company side is a necessity for those who wish to one day become a broker.
• What made you decide to pursue dual licenses?
The purpose of becoming dual licensed is to stand out in the client’s eyes. Why have two brokers when they can have one? There are many brokers out there – however, there aren’t many that are dual licensed. The ability to cross sell products not only keeps premium from being left on the table, but it also builds a wall around our clients and that is what is truly important.
• Your passion for the outdoors is apparent; can you tell us more about your adventures and how you are able to juggle both volunteer work and your profession as a broker?
I love being outdoors, which is why I moved from downtown Toronto to parklawn and lakeshore where I can be on the water and can actually see trees and wildlife. I am always up for trying something new and exciting, I don’t like being stuck in a routine and I don’t like staying in my comfort zone. Mixing things up is important and keeps my energy levels high enough. I think that is apparent when dealing with my clients. If something is important enough, there is always time. Volunteering is important work so I do what I can, when I can and it impacts my profession in a truly positive way.
• Has your experience as a volunteer with the Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre helped with any of your work as a broker?
It shows that us brokers have a human side. I’ve met a lot of amazing people through this organization - they have a lot of fundraising events from golf tournaments to animal photo opportunities. Getting out into the community is important as a broker and so is doing what you love. Anything involving dealing with people adds to your skills as a broker and I chose the volunteering route.
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