Hardiman Mount & Associates (HMA) Insurance Brokers Limited tagline “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Service” reflects the core values of the company. HMA Insurance brokerage, an organization with a rich thirty-year history within their industry, meets the clients on their level, providing honest, innovative solutions in group and employee benefits.
As Co-Founder & President Barry Mount and his colleague and Director of Marketing Gary Valcour explain, HMA’s unique approach drives the company’s success.
In 1984, Jim Hardiman, an experienced insurance broker and managing officer, joined with his younger protégé Barry Mount to create HMA Insurance. Together, they rented out a small office space and began taking on new clients.
The partners began primarily in the family insurance market. “We sat at kitchen tables in the evenings and met with families. We helped parents find the right insurance to protect their families,” explains Mount.
By 1987, the HMA Insurance team had grown to four employees. At this time, Hardiman began to show a strong interest in home and auto insurance protection. HMA Insurance opened a Property and Casualty division later that year. Mount continued to focus his attention on Life and Group Benefits coverage.
HMA Insurance secured a contract with the Chambers of Commerce later that year, becoming the exclusive sales agents of the Chambers of Commerce Insurance Plan for Whitby. They have now expanded their territory to include Ajax/Pickering, Clarington, Scugog, and Oshawa. HMA Insurance also serves as an insurance officer under the Ontario Electric League, which offers solutions for small-medium sized electric contractors in Northern and Eastern Ontario.
Mount’s interest continued to stay in Group Benefit Insurance, while Hardiman focuses primarily on property protection coverage. Both became dually licensed, in order to provide the best possible service. The firm’s success allowed it to grow to 25 employees by 2008.
“We still think of ourselves as a community broker – our beginnings are very important to us,” says Mount, “We’ve now expanded to the wider provincial area, and we’ve seen a lot of larger success. But we always remember our company’s heritage.”
Gary Valcour joined the HMA Insurance team in 2006. Despite previously entering semi-retirement, Hardiman and Mount coaxed Valcour to take the Director of Marketing position. He has since been a phenomenal addition to the firm and has shared in its success.
As the firm developed, Hardiman and Mount decided to transform their core focus. Hardiman, after several decades of industry success, chose to enter semi-retirement. The partners decided to refocus their efforts solely onto their Group Benefits programs. HMA Insurance accepted an offer and turned over their Property and Casualty division, along with the ten associated employees, to a major national brokerage.
“I’m very proud of our refocus. It was a very successful business transaction for Hardiman and myself, as well as the staff. It really was an improvement for everyone,” explains Mount.
In 2011, Hardiman entered full retirement, leaving full control of the business to Mount. Mount and the HMA Insurance team continue to offer exceptional quality service.
“I’m personally exceptionally proud of my team. Our clients recognize the care we provide. It’s something that each one of my staff know retains our business – I know its genuinely in their hearts to do a good job.”
HMA Insurance has now grown again to 19 staff members. The firm focuses solely on offering Group Benefits insurance, specializing in employee benefit solutions.
Employee Benefit Solutions
HMA Insurance operates under four divisions in order to provide optimal client care: the Chamber of Commerce benefits program, Proprietary Products, Tailored Solutions, and 3G Benefits.
The Chamber of Commerce insurance benefits is a national program, with several proprietors operating within different regional districts. It is the only guaranteed renewable and non-cancelable plan in Canada, as long as the client pays their insurance premiums. It’s primarily known for working with smaller corporations.
HMA Insurance currently caters to the third largest land area in Ontario. They work with over 500 companies within their territory as consultants for the Chambers of Commerce insurance plan, representing about 20% of HMA Insurance’s total business.
Proprietary Products offer innovative solutions for those looking for group or employee benefits. This program grew out of HMA Insurance’s success in creating a benefits solution for part-time and casual health care workers. In 1994, the Human Resources Director of Oshawa General Hospital (now Lakeridge Health) approached Mount requesting a program for their part-time employees. A program like this had never been conceptualized before, and was truly unique.
By 1997, HMA Insurance, with the assistance of Greenshield, managed to formulate a standardized health care provider’s insurance plan applicable to a wide range of different health care agencies. HMA Insurance now runs the Health Care Provider’s Group Insurance Program in 160 hospitals throughout Ontario. This program has also assisted in the development of a new program, Corsana Group Benefits, which offers part-time and casual employee benefits to different industries.
HMA Insurance’s Tailored Solutions offers insurance program solutions geared towards meeting an individual business’s needs. This product is geared towards larger companies, usually 50+ employees.
“Tailored Solutions has allowed us to expand into areas associated benefits programs. We can build a unique program to meet an individual need, and then develop that idea into something that can be more broadly used,” explains Valcour.
HMA Insurance’s 3G (Third Generation) Benefits program allows clients to ‘share in the profits’. Should a client’s claim experience perform better than previously anticipated, up to 50% of the resulting profits will be shared with the client.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Service
“We provide great client and customer service on all levels,” says Valcour, “We listen to clients and try to find solutions to match their individual needs. We seek innovative solutions that work for them!”
Hays 2014 Compensation, Benefits, Recruitment and Retention Guide says that when a candidate decides whether or not to accept a job offer, nearly 20% of that decision is based on the benefits that are offered. More than half of all companies offered extended health benefits, performance-related bonuses, training/certification support, pension/RRSP contribution matching, 10-plus days of starting vacation and flexible work hours. These benefits are becoming the new standard of offer in order to attract candidates, particularly in candidate-short markets.
HMA Insurance brings a strong track-record of success and experience into each aspect of client care. They’ve devoted nearly thirty years to developing insurance solutions and gaining a deep understanding of the practices and procedures within their field. Regardless of client business type or size, HMA Insurance aims to offer the best possible service.
“We shine really bright,” says Mount, “We form long-term, trusting relationships with our clients. HMA Insurance is built on offering client’s knowledge, trust, and the simple communication of one individual to another.”
HMA continues to take on new clients and expand their business. They currently offer a wide array of solutions to meet both individual and business insurance needs. Gary Valcour remains heavily involved in community activities, and currently sits as Chairman of The Oshawa Port Authority. Barry Mount is a past president of the Whitby Chamber, has sat as chair of his local hospital board, and is a present member of the Rotary Club.
* All photos credited to Dave Robinet at Photosense.