From commercial account manager and commercial service team leader to commercial lines supervisor and department trainer, Mohawk College Insurance program graduate Wendy Hazell has done it all. Over the past 23 years since she completed the diploma offering, Wendy has made a varied career contributing in multiple ways to Lawrie Insurance Group. She’s also doing what she loves best — helping people.
“We have a large client base and being involved in their business and helping them with their insurance portfolio is quite gratifying,” says Wendy, who graduated from Mohawk in 1998 and was hired at Lawrie Insurance, a leading Canadian brokerage specializing in commercial and personal insurance, employee benefits, life and living benefits, and group retirement solutions. “We also work extensively with our insuring partners, the underwriters, and when necessary, claim adjusters. My role is challenging and has significant variety. As a department trainer, it is also rewarding to watch the young brokers develop into experienced professionals.”
Before she was giving back to clients and colleagues alike, Wendy had worked for several years following high school before getting married and becoming a mom of two. After staying at home until her kids were one and three years old, she decided to pursue a post-secondary education. The decision set in motion a research journey that included campus tours. Mohawk’s Insurance program, which has 40 years of experience training insurance professionals, seemed like a good fit. The campus was in a great location and Wendy wanted a business program, even though she didn’t know a great deal about insurance.
“I was looking for a program that would provide a stable career with the flexibility to work in various areas within the industry,” says Wendy of the program which covers topics such as principles of insurance, underwriting, risk management, loss adjusting, property and automobile insurance, and fraud awareness and prevention.
“It was important I chose an industry that was high in demand and portable if I found myself in the position of needing to move. There are many facets to the insurance industry which present ample opportunities for all graduates. For example, I wanted to find a local employer that offered a training program and opportunities for advancement. I wasn’t quite sure what role I wanted but did want to work at a brokerage.”
In fact, today over 90 percent of Mohawk’s Insurance graduates obtain an insurance career position once they graduate. In addition to being equipped with in-demand skills, students also gain two crucial industry requirements: preparation for the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario License and eight out of ten credits required for the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation from the Insurance Institute of Canada.
“I would suggest all prospective students to do research on various roles within a brokerage and at the insurance company level,” says Wendy. “There are so many different areas a student can focus on and if they can have some of that information beforehand, that would be helpful.”