CAMP Awards SME FINALIST: Cornerstone Insurance Brokers

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Cornerstone Insurance Brokers is a full service insurance brokerage serving more than 20,000 clients in home, auto, motorcycle, equine, farm, commercial, life, disability, and travel insurance, as well as group benefits. With offices in Aurora, Barrie, Markham, and Woodbridge (Vaughan), Cornerstone is committed to providing a better insurance experience. Our mission is to create the preferred client experience through understanding, responsive advice and passionate advocacy. At Cornerstone, we know that it’s not about protecting our customers assets – it’s about protecting their dreams. Small to medium size “There is no such thing as a digital strategy. There is only strategy in a digital world.” Cornerstone was launched in 2007 with a vision to revolutionize the insurance business model. Two decades ago, insurance brokerages held 90% of the insurance market in Canada; now, they hold less than 50%. Large Insurance companies (such as Dejardins and belairdirect) have implemented ‘Direct to Consumer’ models that have significantly impacted the broker industry. Technology has also played a factor, as many brokerages have not kept up with the necessary technological advancements to continue to compete in the digital age. Our strategy to compete  in a digital world has been to build a group of engaged social media followers, develop a client portal, introduce a mobile response website, and add live chat functionality. While traditional media still has its place, we believe that in order to stay relevant (and not get lost in the crowd), we must understand and optimize the different ways that digital media trickles into our customers lives. Developing Cornerstone’s Digital Footprint In 2010, well ahead of other brokerages, Cornerstone implemented and committed to a social media strategy that connected with current and potential customers. This included the introduction of our weekly ‘True or False’ game on Facebook that challenged insurance misconceptions and provided an opportunity to educate. The game, which began humbly with 25 followers partaking in our first challenge, now regularly has several hundred taking part every Wednesday (with an organic reach that continues to be in the thousands).  Cornerstone Insurance Brokers In 2013, Cornerstone invested in an online portal to meet the technology age and effectively compete with insurance companies with ten times our budget. MyCornerstone was born, and provided clients the ability to view insurance documents, information, and access to exclusive deals from Cornerstone’s business clients. The portal was a huge project for the company and in October of 2015, MyPinkslips was introduced to offer substantial value to customers. Now, clients can view their proof of insurance (in the industry, this is commonly referred to as a ‘pinkslip’) online, from their mobile devices. They could view these at any time – if ever stopped by a police officer or shopping for a new vehicle, they had immediate access to their insurance pinkslip. Cornerstone introduced Live Chat on its website in 2012, and further demonstrating its commitment to digital excellence, the company’s mobile website was implemented in 2014. Online quoting has long been an offering in both brokerages and direct to consumer insurance companies, and Cornerstone’s online quoting option was introduced in 2008. We continue to refine our online quoting process to make it easy and interactive for potential clients. What’s next for Cornerstone? In July 2016, Cornerstone was acquired by BrokerLink, one of the largest Canadian property and casualty insurance brokerage operations.  BrokerLink has a strong presence in Ontario and Western Canada, and we are excited to exchange best practices and ideas with their established digital team.  “The synergies between our organizations were also evident in the way Cornerstone has leveraged digital media to connect with customers,” said Paul Meyer, Head of Acquisitions for BrokerLink. “At BrokerLink, we strive to offer diverse products and services through a variety of distribution channels, including social media and through our website.” Together, we plan to be Ontario’s leading insurance broker by executing a robust digital marketing program that will drive lead generation and improve online experience.    

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