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MBS Insurance Celebrates 50 Years

It’s all about your needs

Mike Biggs, Dale Nilson, president, and Jeff Hughson, senior vice president. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

Insurance. It’s that one thing everyone needs but does not want. So, when a local insurance brokerage has a five star rating on Facebook from over 40 people, and 4.7/5 on Google from more than 130 customers, you have to wonder, “what’s their secret?”
For MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd., who has been protecting Edmonton’s families and businesses for 50 years, there is no secret. It’s simply adhering to their core value of service: the customer’s needs come first. Always.
MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. was founded in 1969 by Doug Biggs and Peter Marusin.

“They opened up in a shopping centre and were the first brokerage south of Whyte Ave,” explains Doug’s son Mike Biggs, who works at MBS as a commercial insurance broker. “The location was a strategic move because there was a Safeway nearby. Men would pop into the brokerage while their wives shopped. They appreciated not having to go downtown to buy insurance.”

“MBS Insurance started with one file in 1969,” adds Dale Nilson, president. “Today we have 10,200 clients and 24 staff members. More than half of the staff have been here for 15 years or more.”

Biggs smiles, “And we still serve the first policyholder’s family today.”

To the management team, which also includes Jeff Hughson, senior VP and Tanya Kaczur, accounts manager, outstanding customer service isn’t about giving the clients what they want. It’s providing what they need.

“We don’t undersell to get the policy. It’s not about price. It’s about value,” explains Kaczur.

The MBS team strives to educate their customers on the different policies available and show them why their choices should not be determined by price alone. The worst possible scenario is seeing a customer pay for a policy that is not designed to fully protect them – something each broker at MBS does not allow to happen. By providing the most comprehensive coverage, the customer’s policy should respond as intended in the event of a claim or a disaster.

“People choose to deal with MBS because we are an alternative to the “call centre” type of organization where the customer is shuffled around to many representatives, often left feeling like a number. At MBS Insurance, each of our customers has a dedicated broker who is responsible for taking care of their insurance needs. This personalized approach helps foster strong, long-lasting relationships between us and our customers. A great example of this and one we are very proud of is our relationship with Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Since 1983 we have provided home and auto insurance to their instructors and employees. Our customers are also a strong source of referrals to their friends, family and businesses. Over 80 per cent of our new customers come from existing customer referrals,” states Nilson.

MBS has always been ahead of the curve, implementing new technology and processes as they become available, innovative strategies to remain competitive while completely customer focused, and keeping a watchful eye on industry trends. In fact, MBS is currently educating its clients about why insurance costs in Alberta have been increasing.

“Claims frequency and severity continue to grow in Alberta,” informs Hughson.

This is due to several factors. The cost of automobile repairs has increased significantly due to the advancement of technology in vehicles such as computerized equipment, cameras and sensors. Accidents rates have also increased due to distracted driving.

Alberta also continues to lead the country in natural catastrophes including flooding, fire, hail, thunderstorms and tornadoes. From 2008 to 2017 Alberta made up more than half of the catastrophe losses in Canada. More and more Albertans are relying on their insurance to respond to these increasingly severe weather disasters.

“We understand that insurance is a financial obligation. It’s dollars and cents out of your pocket,” says Nilson. We all pay for insurance and we understand how insurance impacts everyone. Our role is to ensure our customers understand why the industry is changing, provide helpful advice and preventative actions that will help mitigate future losses and premium increases, and lastly and most importantly, ensure the customer’s policy responds when a claim occurs.”

Another vital component of MBS’ success is its long-term relationships with its carrier partners, including Aviva Insurance, Economical Insurance, Intact Insurance, Peace Hills Insurance, Travelers Canada and Wawanesa Insurance. Many of these relationships have been ongoing for 25-40 years.

Thanks to excellence in service and client care, MBS Insurance has been recognized numerous times by their insurer partners over the years.

MBS is also active in the community, supporting many organizations such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, local hockey teams, Share the Warmth, the MS Society of Canada, and more.

“When selecting insurance, you are also selecting an insurance broker that can help you through it all. It’s not solely about price. It’s truly about your needs.”

MBS Insurance thanks its past and present staff, clients, insurance carriers, supporters and founders for their role in helping the company thrive for 50 years. The team looks forward to continuing the tradition of service excellence, meeting the needs of their clients, and always putting customer service at the forefront of everything they do.