Bryson Blog

Gearing up for the Holiday Season

With the Christmas season (yes I said that word!) just around the corner it not only is a time that Linda Colgan Trucking Insurance Commercial Broker sitting for a profile picture in front of a gray screen in Whitby Ontario with Bryson Insurance brokerswe start to gear up to get all the Christmas cheer stocked up and gifts for under the tree, but also a time for criminal minds to be at their peak! What a season to shop for loaded trailers full of goodies that make thieves pockets jingle and hard working innocent people suffer. The last consideration a thief will have is how the company responsible for the freight (or the individual) will suffer by way of insurance deductible or the impact the loss will create with their insurance rates.

Everyday is a good day to practice risk management, however theft losses tend to rise a couple months before Christmas as stores start to stock their shelves.

The message is simply to be aware. Have discussions with drivers and employees to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the load.

As a final comment, with the season just around the corner many transportation firms are generous and loan equipment for local organizations for Christmas parades. If so, this would also be the time to start discussion with your insurance Broker on procedures and how this relates to your insurance programme.

Linda Colgan is a Transportation Insurance Advisor with Bryson & Associates Insurance Brokers. To contact Linda call 416-809-3103 or email

Child Studying Away From Home? Help Them Study Smart.

Do you have a child studying abroad or out-of-province? Protect your child from unexpected medical costs with Travel Insurance.

Congratulations on your child's continued education. Taking the leap to study out-of-province is a big one and we want to make sure you feel good knowing your child's health coverage is not a worry for you or them.

Outside of your province of resident, your health care coverage may fall short. Our Ontario health plan may only cover a small portion of the total medical bills incurred outside of Ontario. For very reasonable rates your can look at your child with Student Travel Insurance.

If left unprotected, these out-of-pocket expenses can add up. But with Student Travel Insurance, your child can be covered from unexpected medical expenses in a foreign country or out-of-province at a very reasonable rate.

Our team can help you better understand coverage and rates. Take a moment to connect with us by emailing our team at or call us at 1-800-661-5196

As an aside, if your child is covered under your group health plan, remember to check the policy to see if it covers medical costs for out-of-province studies. If not, contact Bryson Insurance today to learn more about Student Travel Insurance.

While provincial health insurance does move with your child throughout Canada, you may want to take a moment to see how supplemental coverage will give you and your child the peace-of-mind you both deserve.

Child graduating from university in OntarioWill the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cover unexpected medical expenses that occur out-of-province?

Things like physician visits or hospital charges in the event of an unforeseen sickness is generally covered. But things like dental emergencies, medical transportation back to Ontario, ambulance services, and some prescription drugs may require supplemental coverage.

What is covered by supplemental health coverage is available for Ontario students traveling out-of-province?

There are numerous coverage options available with supplemental health insurance for your child studying out-of-province. We took a moment to highlight some of the more important benefits and ones often overlooked by families sending their children abroad. Many with this coverage today are specifically comforted by some of the travel benefits (bringing your child home or bringing a family member out to be with your child).

Here are some of the coverage benefits.:

  • Hospitalization covers hospital room and board charges.
  • Medical Services covers the cost of treatment by physician or surgeon
  • Diagnostic Services covers the cost of x-rays and other diagnostic testing
  • Out-patient Treatment covers the cost of out-patient emergency room charges
  • Prescription Drugs covers the cost of prescription drugs and medication prescribed in an emergency situation
  • Ambulance Travel covers the cost to use an ambulance and be transported back home to Ontario
  • Family to Bedside brings a family member to your child's bedside
  • Accidental Dental covers the cost of repair to teeth and relief from pain
  • And more... for a full list connect with us today.

We strongly recommend talking with one of our licensed professionals to see how this peace-of-mind policy would impact you and your family. Email our team at, or call us at 1-800-661-5196

Bryson Family Inspired Back-To-School Meals and Snacks

It is getting very close to the Back-to-School time of year! For many, this means getting back into the routine of the daily practice of making packable lunches for your entire family.

We asked a few Bryson team members to share their their favourite healthy back-to-school recipes with you. Which will be your favourite? Leave us your answer and your favourite recipe ideas in the comments.

The recipes include two quick-to-make snacks and two hearty salads.

Recipes included are Vicky’s 1+1 Cookie Dough Bites, Donna’s No Bake All Gym Class Bars, Tammy’s Arugula Arithmetic Salad, and Linda’s Tex(t)-Guacamole Salad.

Healthy Back-to-School Food Ideas

First the very easy-to-make and super healthy snacks:

Vicky Murphy’s 1+1 Cookie Dough Bites

Vicky made this instant classic recipe for the Bryson summer picnic. We asked to to please share the recipe with the world!

Small Batch:

  • 1 scoop (or packet) of vanilla protein power
  • 1/3 cup of old fashion oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk (or water)

Mix ingredients and then sprinkle in dark chocolate chips to taste. Roll into bite sized balls and store in the fridge or freezer. These are also great for parties and events!

Donna Murphy’s No Bake All Gym Class Bars

You know that 3pm wall? Break through it with Donna's "No Bake All Gym Class Bars". These bars are packed with delicious energy boosting foods.


  • ½ cup Raisins
  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup Coconut milk
  • ½ Protein Powder
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 1 cup natural Peanut butter
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chia seeds or ground flax seeds

Directions: In a blender, pulse 1 ½ cups of the oats until a flour like consistency. In a large bowl, toss to combine oat flour, remaining ½ cup oats, protein powder, chocolate chips, chia or flax seeds, and raisins. Stir together in a medium bowl the coconut milk, peanut butter, and honey. Pour Peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Spread mixture into a 9x9 inch square pan or an 11x7 inch pan. Press mixture down and cover with a lid or foil and refrigerate overnight, or until they harden some. Slice into 12 bars and keep stored in the refrigerator.

Tammy McCarthy’s Arugula Arithmetic Salad

Most of Tammy's recipe is grown in her own backyard garden. When not engaged in her passion for gardening, Tammy is creating great meals like this one.


  • ½ cups ripped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup ripped fresh kale leaves (de-stemmed)
  • ¼ cup ripped arugula
  • ¼ cup walnuts or cashews (can also sub with almonds, or mix)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (can sub with asiago or romano)
  • A separate 1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients into blender except the separated 1/3 – ½ cup olive oil
While pureeing them in the blender, slow add the 1/3 cup of olive oil
Puree until texture is creamy and smooth.

Freezes well. Keeps in fridge for several days.

Linda Colgan's Tex(t)-Guacamole Salad

Linda's always bubbling with positive energy. As soon as we asked for a recipe, she was quick to share one of her favourites from a high-end restaurant from her trip to Texas.


  • Recipe for Guacamole Salad
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • ½ orange
  • Lots of fresh cilantro
  • Roasted roma tomatoes
  • Purple onion
  • Sea salt
  • 1 avocado

Squeeze juice into shallow salad bowl. Cut up avocado, put in onion, tomato, dice finely. Shake in cilantro and salt. Mix.

Let us know your favourite back-to-school recipe ideas in the comments!

Maintaining effective work-life balance

The nature of my business, as an insurance broker, allows me to meet new and interesting people every day. Our combination of personal lines, commercial business and specialization in truck fleet insurance, introduces us to all walks of life and the many challenges families and business owners face in today’s fast paced environment. Change is constant and work-life balance is a constant struggle.

I love what I do and enjoy belonging to the Durham business community. We are in the “helping” business and by insuring our clients appropriately, we help protect them against unforeseen perils with their personal, home, auto and business requirements.

I would like to share a few thoughts that have helped me to strike a better balance as a mother to 2 teenagers, a business owner who has just expanded to a second location in Brooklin and after nearly 20 years of marriage, have just completed building our own home. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it!

Tracy’s 5 TIPS for better work-life balance

  • 1 I keep a positive mindset and remind myself daily of everything I have to be grateful for. I try very hard not to allow negativity to be part of my life – at home or at work. I highly recommend the book “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowen as a guide to the power of positive thinking.
  • 2 I walk to free my head of clutter and read books like “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington, who stresses the importance of getting enough sleep, meditation and making small gestures of kindness. I listen to Brene Brown, a research professor who speaks to the importance of embracing who we are.
  • 3 I plan trips with my family in order to physically get away from our day to day surroundings, rediscover and enjoy each other’s company… no interruptions including cell phones, emails etc.
  • 4 Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is high on my priority list. Personally, I have a movement specialist and a nutritionist I reach out to weekly. I also encourage our team to partake in annual community events we help sponsor like relay marathons, duathlons, Tough Mudder, Muderella and multiple 5 KM walks.
  • 5 I surround myself with people who have strengths in areas I don’t. I delegate tasks that I simply don’t have time to do and align with those who I trust and have confidence in. We are not alone and as part of the Durham community there are those we can help and can help us. It’s extremely rewarding in both directions.

How Much is Enough? An aritcle by Tammy McCarthy

Tammy Director of Transportation with Bryson Insurance

“Most companies do not have the luxury of self-insuring. How many businesses possess the wherewithal to conduct proper investigations, and the expertise to determine the best course of action with the least exposure to legal ramifications?”

Tammy McCarthy, RIB, CAIB – Dir. of Transportation

Amidst the growing litigious nature of our society and skyrocketing settlements, the importance of protecting company assets has reached the forefront of diligent leadership and management.

Here are some key considerations when determining how much Liability coverage is right for you.

Damages, and the Law

Not all damages relate to physical injury to tangible property; there are increasing numbers of claims involving bodily injury, or even death.

Remember, the consumer of your product, the recipient of your work, or any person exposed to your operations has the right to expect reasonable care, and that all goods, work, operations and the establishment are in a safe condition; even when visiting or passing by. There is the added expectation that there will be no interference with their personal property or liberties.

Your business may be held liable for General or Special Damages, such as pain and suffering, future earnings, medical fees, loss of earning capacity, funeral expenses, and extended healthcare services, to name a few. Such costs are not only unpredictable; they are difficult to control and impacted by factors such as the victim’s social and financial position.

Court Awards

For certain industries, the large-dollar exposures are apparent (e.g. airline, pharmaceutical or manufacturing sectors), while others require closer analysis. Regardless, exposures do exist.

It is important to be aware of court awards involving similar businesses to your own, including emerging precedents. These cases set the foundation for future settlement of similar actions.

Legal Costs and Interest

Courts can impose payment for the Plaintiffs’ legal costs, pre-judgment and/or post-judgment interest. These costs are in addition to actual ‘damages’ awarded and can be quite substantial.

Existence of Insurance

Juries may be more generous when insurance is in place. It’s often referred to as the Deep Pockets Theory. The general concept being: those who have the greater ability to pay, should pay.

Although the existence of a liability policy is often inadmissible as evidence, a subtle inference or assumption may lead the Jury to believe one exists. This can serve as a form of psychological detachment; removing the sense of direct financial ‘injury’ to the Defendant(s).


U.S. sales or exposure? Consider the possibility that there may be less reluctance to commence a legal action when an incident occurs south of our borders. Not to mention the exchange rate and higher costs for your Canadian insurer to investigate, mitigate, defend and settle the claim.


Courts often give consideration to inflation – pushing awards to higher levels to compensate.

Ability to Absorb Losses

Most companies do not have the luxury of self-insuring. How many businesses possess the wherewithal to conduct proper investigations, and the expertise to determine the best course of action with the least exposure to legal ramifications? How many have reserve funding readily available when faced with a significant liability loss?

Fact: the ability to pay an award is NOT a consideration by the Courts!

Businesses may be left with no other option but to liquidate. And, in cases where that is still not enough to cover the Judgment, there is a potential impact on future earnings and any personal guarantees posted in association with the operations.

Fact: Bankruptcy does not necessarily absolve payment of a Judgment!

If you have questions or are wondering "How much is enough for me and my business" speak to your Bryson Insurance Broker or call us today at 1-800-661-5196.

Tammy McCarthy has been in the insurance industry since 1997 and is the Director of Transportation with Bryson & Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Time to uncover the toys

Just imagine how many times that’s being said in various households across the country as rising temperatures and the first long weekend of the season have boating enthusiasts eager to get on the water.

After a long, extremely cold winter there is nothing more exhilarating than the sound of the waves against the hull of your boat, the low drone of the motor as anglers try their luck nearby; the snap of the sail at that first-of-the season burst of wind.

Recreational boating is such an enticing pastime that it’s estimated 46 per cent or roughly 13.2 million adult Canadians took to the waterways last year.

In their haste to uncover their toys, however, boat owners need to ensure they are covered properly to begin with. Finding the appropriate insurance cover can leave owners treading water, wondering whether they are in over their heads.

Bryson and Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd., in conjunction with a handful of marine insurance companies, take that worry away from boat owners and make the transition from land to water each year as seamless as possible.

Bryson’s team of professionals recognize the passion involved when clients choose to invest in a watercraft, and how they want to ensure that investment is properly covered and protected.

What is my boat worth or, what should I insure it for are the most frequently asked questions. Boaters are encouraged to insure their watercraft for the amount it would cost to replace it with like kind and quality. From there an “agreed value” can be established. Agreed value means that you and the marine insurance company have agreed (by way of contract) on the insured value of your boat.

Boat insurance varies depending on the length and type of watercraft you have, value and the level of coverage you wish to secure. While some homeowners’ policies will pick up insurance on smaller boats, it is a marine policy that affords one the best and most diverse coverage.

While boat owners have a checklist to follow to ensure their season is safe and enjoyable, Bryson and Associates has a checklist to ensure the season is an unforgettable one for all the right reasons.

Spring is coming and so is the possibility of water damage to your home

I believe everyone would agree that after a cold winter season, spring is going to
be a welcome change. Unfortunately, with that change comes rain, thawing and potential water damage to your home. Recent studies show that this type of damage is on the rise and currently represents over 50% of all Canadian insurance claims.

What can you do to minimize your risk?

First, talk to your insurance broker and identify what your policy covers and what added coverage might be available to you. Ask the question - what happens if events (like the following) happen to me?

  • Flooding results from internal plumbing issues
  • You incur water damage from faulty appliances
  • Your sewer backs up, flooding your basement
  • Cracks in your foundation, plugged eavestroughs or improper grading are the source of unwanted water in your home

What’s covered... what isn’t?

Water damage can weaken the structure of your home, cause mildew to form and create a dangerous environment for your family. Your insurance broker can explain in detail what your policy covers and help you with preventative measures to take as spring approaches.

  • Avoid keeping valuables and important documents in your basement
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your family and pets
  • Do your best to keep your drainage systems well maintained

The combination of warmer weather, melting snow and excess rain can create havoc if you are not prepared. Your insurance broker can recommend the best coverage and preventative measures to avoid the headaches water damage can create.

Cyber Threats: an article by Linda Colgan

Prof Linda

Almost daily it is possible to read something on hackers penetrating personal and commercial businesses to gain access to information that benefits the avails of crime.  No one is above being vulnerable.  It’s not only bank accounts or credit cards these criminals want, its identity as well.   The evidence is clear cyber threats are here and it’s not only through hacking of internet waves that one can be exposed – it can be simply through human error.

We all remember the identity theft that Target suffered late 2013 with 70 million customer’s personal financial information being exposed to the hands of hackers.  Truly a fearful act.  Another Russian

crime ring known to a security firm in the US has storage of 1.2 billion user names and password combinations and according to the article in the New York Times in August of this year, more than 500 million email addresses as well. In the same article it reveals that a theft service in Vietnam secured 200 million personal records including social security numbers.  These numbers are alarming to say the least.

Ever think about the convenience of downloading information onto a USB stick – willfully holding a mass of information for the purpose of being able to have access through another computer at home, for storage or even for use at work for presentations?  As much as we may not think that the information is important but what would happen if the portable device was stolen?  Information on that device that could expose a company to financial loss, vulnerable to business interruption and easily destroy a company’s reputation.

Personal information, company information, contracts and other information that falls into the wrong hands can have devastating effects.  Cyber insurance is one of the most recent developments in the insurance marketplace.  With the recognition of the cyber exposures more companies are introducing endorsements to limit the exposure in this arena under commercial general liability policies. Cyber insurance coverage is evolving year to year recognizing loss of intellectual property, extortion, online media, data privacy and some insurers are extending coverage for business interruption losses.  As the claims occur the insurance coverages are becoming more detailed.  Cyber insurance is on the rise and should be considered not only for large businesses but smaller ones as well.  Smaller companies may not have the funds to invest in cyber security therefore providing easier access to information that benefits thieves.

As well as investigating cyber insurance as an integral part of risk management purchases, internal corporate policies should also reflecthow the companies are going to govern cyber threats.  Speak to your Broker about the cyber insurance, the education needs to begin now.

Linda Colgan has been an Insurance Broker in the transportation industry since 1986 and is Senior Account Executive with Bryson & Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd.   To contact Linda call at 416-809-3103 or feel free to email Linda at

Bryson Insurance Employee Spotlight: Cheryl Roberts LLQP, HBA – Business Development Manager

Cheryl’s experience is that most families wait too long to get the insurance protection they need. They are under the impression that it is not affordable or not really necessary, when the opposite is actually true.

Prof Cheryl

Cheryl joined Bryson Insurance as their Business Development Manager, two years ago. Her early career saw her in management positions within the insurance arms of major banking institutions. Cheryl explains the difference in the business approach at Bryson, “I’m able to get to know our clients better and understand their situation in a more holistic fashion. I am empowered at a higher level and can move things along quicker. I’m allowed to specialize in short and long term life policies and living benefits like critical illness insurance. I can educate and advise in these areas and then bring in an associate that specializes in other areas like home and auto. This team approach brings greater expertise to our client and the more collaborative, team approach creates a great working environment compared to my corporate background.”

Big life events like marriage, becoming a parent and buying a home get people thinking about life insurance. The truth is, the younger you are the more affordable your insurance premium can be. There is a definite trend towards using life insurance over mortgage insurance as it is less expensive, your coverage and benefits do not go down as your mortgage decreases and it gives you more flexibility in the way monies are dispersed. Cheryl definitely feels it is worth looking into if you are looking at entering into or renewing a mortgage in the near future and says, “It is flat out better value.”

Today, there are more dependent elderly than dependent youth. To meet the needs of our elderly population, there are all types of programs that address the needs of both healthy and higher risk seniors. Cheryl adds, “There are too many well kept secrets in this area and way too many assumptions made as to the coverages available for living benefits and critical illness situations. There are programs that actually return the premiums in full if no claims are made. It really pays to take some time with a life insurance specialists to understand the coverage options available to you.”

Along with managing the Life portfolios for her clients, Cheryl also works closely with industry professionals in the Durham region. She helps lawyers, mortgage brokers and other professionals to help their clients in the education and understanding of the benefits of short and long term life policies. This community partnering approach and coaching her associates within Bryson is a very enjoyable part of Cheryl’s day to day activities.

Cheryl states, “We have a young family and Boomer parents, so it’s easy for me to empathize with my clients of all demographics. Our President, Tracy Makris has been where I am and is a great mentor for me as I continue on my journey. She has built a great group, stays involved with the community and keeps on top of what’s coming down the insurance pipeline. I’m very happy to be part of Bryson Insurance.”


Employee Spotlight: Victoria (Vicky) Murphy, New Business Account Manager

Vicky’s advice to anyone thinking about getting insurance or to those who are already insured (across home, auto and life) is to keep in touch with your broker. She states, “The rules are always changing and believe it or not, many times it is to our clients’ advantage. Things as far ranging as installation of tankless water heaters or having children with great marks at university can lead to deeper discounts on your total insurance package.”

Victoria Murphy - New Business Account Manager

Vicky will soon be celebrating 3 years with Bryson Insurance. Her previous decade of experience in the insurance industry were with direct writers at two of Canada’s leading institutions. As a Bryson Account Manager, Vicky has a mix of long standing Boomer generation clients and younger families. Having a young family herself and Boomer parents, Vicky is very comfortable handling both demographics.

Vicky explains, ”One of the biggest differences I find with Bryson, where we represent multiple writers of insurance, is we provide greater choice and can tailor an integrated approach that fits the clients’ particular needs.” She adds, “We take a fresh look at everything and take a big picture approach to the solutions we recommend. Along with our ‘Bryson Bundles’ which give deeper discounts for multiple policies, we are converting many of our clients from traditional mortgage insurance to more cost effective term insurance policies.”

Reasons to consider term over traditional mortgage insurance starts with affordability. As an example, a 35 year old non-smoker can attain $250,000 of insurance for as little as $25/month. Additional advantages include:

  • Simple affordable solutions that benefit you and your beneficiaries
  • Does not disappear as your mortgage does
  • Quick quotes in few minutes for easy comparison
  • Easy but full underwriting upfront so that in your time of need the money will be there
  • You get to choose beneficiary and the amount to be insured for, not the bank
  • You can convert your term to a permanent solution

The idea of a multiple policy discount isn’t new but the “Bryson Bundle” incorporates a more in depth analysis over multiple writers to maximize the coverage, protection and comfort of dealing with Bryson’s client-centric approach. Vicky adds, “I definitely have more options to offer my clients at Bryson than I did with a direct writer. It’s a very rare occasion that I can’t find a solution that satisfies my client’s requirements.” The benefits of placing your full portfolio with Bryson Insurance includes:

  • The more you bundle with Bryson, the more you save
  • Ensure all cost savings are taken advantage of and insurance coverage is appropriate
  • Experts assess and complete the insurance portfolio in one step, under one roof
  • A comprehensive package can be developed to include home, auto, life, health, travel and business

Bryson Insurance is a family owned and operated enterprise that is highly involved with their customers and community. It’s an approach appreciated by Vicky. “I love the fact that our clients truly come first. We keep it up close and personal and I get to help people from all walks of life and make better, ongoing decisions to develop the best overall insurance package for them.”