Our Philosophy

If you are a prospective client please take a moment to read the information below.

We are NOT a one size fits all advisor. We are an independent brokerage that specializes in employee benefits for small and mid-sized firms, typically located in the Greater Toronto Area. We often work with firms with “unusual” situations that other brokers do not have the experience or expertise to handle. Examples include US-based companies that are starting up in Canada, firms with as few as two staff and those with higher than average ages, or in unusual industries or occupations.

Our goal is to provide your firm with fairly priced benefits. We may not offer the lowest prices in the marketplace (in fact, we’ll guarantee that you won’t have the lowest prices each year) because the cheapest price today often ends up with the highest renewal rate increase tomorrow.

A poorly priced 10% savings may be nice at plan inception but not if it means a 20% increase at the first renewal. Our experience says that most clients would prefer a more manageable 4-6% increase each year. In the long run, this approach is also more palatable when cost sharing with staff, is easier to budget for, and does not involve the work, errors, re-education and lost productivity associated with changing insurers.

Does this philosophy cost our clients more in the long run? It does not. With an average rate increase over the past 5 years of approximately3.4%, the past 10 years has been 3.8%, and when the last 15 years are compared, the average increase is only 3.5% /year (inclusive of aging – once aging is removed, these expenses have been very close to the general inflation rate).

Our average annual (unweighted) cost increases, for current clients across ALL benefit lines:

  • 2006 – 5.5%
  • 2007 – 6.0%
  • 2008 – 4.2%
  • 2009 – 4.1%
  • 2010 – 5.1%
  • 2011 – 3.25%
  • 2012 – 3.9%
  • 2013 – (-0.9%)
  • 2014 – 1.4%
  • 2015 – 6.1%
  • 2016 -2.0%
  • 2017 – 7.2%
  • 2018 – 3.4%
  • 2019 – 0.7%
  • 2020 – 3.8%
  • 2021 – (-0.8%)
  • 2022 – 3.9% 
  • 2023 – 9.0%
  • 2024 – 5.2% YTD (est 5%)

We encourage any prospective client to compare these numbers to their current brokers average increases (if they have or will share the data). These increases are also significantly less than the 11% & 7% average rate increases that most insurers use in their health and dental renewal projections.

Our experience is that small businesses want their benefits programs to operate effectively with a minimum of administration time required by both the employer and employee. We work with a variety of insurers to find the best fit for your firm. We work to keep plans with the same insurer, provided it continues to be a good fit, of course, to avoid unnecessary effort and additional costs for all involved. We offer a significant amount of support on HR issues that relate to your benefits. This is a value-added benefit of being a Mainstay client. We are NOT HR consultants but can always refer you to one if you like.

We are paid standard commissions that are competitive within the industry. If you are interested in what we, as an advisor specializing in group benefits, are paid, look HERE.  We do not offer “fee for service pricing” as in our experience this can be expensive when setting up new cases – typically just the time you don’t want to spend more. We also do not want to charge for additional time spent in addressing service or administration issues created by the insurer. We think that our investment of time and resources in your firm is well worth it because our goal is to establish a relationship that will last for years.