Elaine Berry was 24 when she relocated from Jamaica to Canada in 1977. She was leaving her home country and a previous career path behind. “The biggest adjustment were the layers of clothing I had to wear,” she chuckles. “I remember working downtown at the Trust Tower when I first got here [to Toronto]. Sometimes, I’d forget how cold it was; I’d get down to the street and have to ride the elevator back to my floor to bundle up!”
This is Elaine’s fifth year at Bryson Insurance; she’s the Efficiencies Manager.
“Insurance wasn’t my first love,” she says. Elaine had initially intended on becoming a physiotherapist. But, right out of school, she got a job working with a claims manager and then at a brokerage. “I found myself really enjoying the work. I liked the atmosphere—I liked dealing with people and helping them.” After moving from her home country to Canada and working at three brokerages over 31 years, in 2008, Elaine felt it was time for a change. “I decided to change direction and find work with a company that better suited my goals. I found that at Bryson.”
As Efficiencies Manager, for Elaine there’s rarely a dull moment. Primarily, she manages workflows and processes in and around the office. “We create workflows for every conceivable thing!” says Elaine. “New business, coordinating between departments, recording conversations between account managers and their clients.” That last one is particularly important. Elaine is responsible for monitoring correspondence between Bryson’s representatives and their clients.
“We listen to the content of the calls and make sure our account managers are responding to client feedback and questions correctly. If they’re doing a great job, we give them a commendation and if we see areas that need work, we typically schedule a Lunch and Learn event to bring everyone up to speed.”
Working at a brokerage, Elaine says she enjoys the variety in her day-to-day. In her role, she’s required to tap in to several different skillsets: producing new business, liaising with clients and account managers and problem solving. “A typical day is always different,” says Elaine. “My job is challenging in a really positive way.” It’s a constant juggling act when it comes to prioritizing the acquisition of new business, educating the staff and ensuring optimal efficiency throughout all the operations.
“I care about helping clients find the most comprehensive coverage.” According to Elaine, there are many coverages clients don’t necessarily know about that could mean a huge difference in recovering their business in the event of an emergency. “For instance,” she explains, “Business Interruption is a form of coverage that’s grossly neglected. Business Continuity is another. Brokers need to understand what, exactly, their clients do and how a potential loss could affect their ability to conduct business. All forms of coverage have different purposes and are suited to different types of operations.”
Clients are rarely aware that they require these kinds of coverages. Advising and educating on how to attain the best possible policy is something Elaine finds both challenging and rewarding. “Sometimes, people don’t want to change. They’ve done things one way for so long. It’s important for me to be able to reinforce the benefits of doing things a different way, especially if it means better, more comprehensive, coverage.”
Elaine enjoys an active lifestyle. “I love exercise,” she says. “I play tennis and spend time at the gym to centre myself after work.” Maintaining a work-life balance is important to Elaine. Making time to clear your head and focus on what’s important makes for more streamlined operations…at home or on the job.