Buying insurance can sometimes be emotional. “You can feel the tension new clients have because they lack confidence and have never properly understood what they’re paying for,” says Joan Barbondy, Financial Advisor for The Co-operators. “And then there’s the other side of things, when someone is making a claim. They often feel vulnerable.”
Barbondy sees her role as informing new clients about the services she provides, protecting families, and helping them rebuild their lives. “It’s a completely relationship-based business,” says the North Battleford native. “It’s all about creating understanding and trust – assuring clients that we’ll be there when they need us. Ultimately, we want to provide financial security to our communities, one client at a time, helping them recognize gaps and offering the solutions that help them reach their lifestyle goals.”
It’s no surprise that a business owned by a co-operative should have such a people-focused ethos; after all, it’s democratically controlled by the people who use its services. In terms of insurance, The Co-operators does the lot – Home, Auto, Life, Group, Business, Farm and Travel – and members of the federated co-op are sometimes eligible for discounts or special financial concessions.
The Co-operators also helps you make investments; you can open accounts such as RRSPs, RESPs and TFSAs and invest in segregated funds, an option that’s exclusive to insurance companies. With these, unlike mutual funds, you’re guaranteed to get back all or most of your principal investment when the fund matures. “The need for profitability is balanced with the needs of our members and their communities,” says Barbondy. “Making people a priority and taking a long-term view of business decisions makes The Co-operators fundamentally different from most insurance companies.”
At heart, Barbondy says, it’s all about the community, which is why she’s involved in initiatives like the Boys and Girls Club, community safety group SAGE, and Meals on Wheels. “People here have the mentality of shopping – and thinking – locally,” she says. “The only thing that keeps small towns strong is to support and get involved with the community, which is what I do day in day out, in and out of work.”
For more information and to book an appointment with Joan Barbondy or a member of her team, visit www.cooperators.ca/joan-barbondy.The company has offices in North Battleford, Wilkie and Meadow Lake.