Spanning the Nation
A.P. Reid Insurance goes national with innovation and vision
By Erin Elaine Casey
We don’t normally think of the insurance business as a risk-friendly enterprise,but Dartmouth-based A.P. Reid Insurance Stores is working to change that. “If the insurance industry says no to a certain type of business or client, we say that’s got to be wrong. We approach a challenge or opportunity and say, there’s got to be an answer, and then we go and create it,” says President Jamie Reid.
Founded by Jamie’s mother Aileen Reid in 1980, A.P. Reid is Canada’s only family-owned national insurance broker of personal, commercial, and group insurance products and services. It has over 60 employees across Canada, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario, and Alberta, and clients in every province. Jamie grew up in the family business, becoming president in 2005.
The last few years have been a whirlwind. A.P. Reid finished its first-ever acquisition in 2014, of a competing brokerage in Ontario, and last year bought a home and auto insurance program in Alberta. They also provide group insurance to thousands of employees across the country. Sobeys is one of their biggest clients.
Added to all this expansion is the establishment of ZipSure.ca, an online insurance company thatlets customers buy insurance from their smartphones. Its first product, ZipTenant, provides affordable, easy-to-purchase tenant insurance, and received the New Product or Service of the Year award from the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations in June.
ZipSure.ca works hand-in-hand with RealtyGuard, A.P. Reid’s building insurance program, and with the group benefits programs the company offers employees in the rental housing business.“Fewer than 25 per cent of renters buy insurance,” says Jamie. “ZipSure.ca was designed to eliminate as many barriers as possible. We have tools for landlords to help them promote it. We have resource materials to educate people about why they need it. It’s easier for the tenant to buy and easier for the landlord to recommend.”
A.P. Reid is also committed to providing commercial insurance solutions for every industry and business, no matter how unusual or hard to place.“Jamie is an entrepreneur who happens to be in the insurance business,” says Tim Branson, the company’s Commercial Lines Director. “Size does matter when it comes to negotiating with insurers.We can be a national company and still have a personal touch. We’re just as professional but we’re leaner and more flexible.”