"I get to hear stories and help people achieve their goals in a very real way."
Brooke Hunter is the founder and President & CEO of Hunters International Insurance, based in Toronto Canada.
With a degree in art history and a great passion for art, Brooke’s path to running her own insurance business was not what she expected for her career — but she loves her work and the variety it brings to her daily life.
The interview was taped during the COVID19 pandemic, and you can find it here.
As an insurance broker, Brooke says she advises people on "risk" and then puts in place insurance for their businesses, homes, and cars (to name a few examples); when a problem arises and clients submit an insurance claim, she's there to help them through it.
Coming from a family with a history in the insurance world, Brooke found herself as a young file clerk in Vancouver, after testing out "art" job prospects after graduation. With "elbow grease and ambition," Brooke moved up in her first firm, and she worked in Hong Kong, Sydney, back to Vancouver, and eventually Toronto, where she started her own business.
Brooke explains she has "no typical day" and that her work is "so interesting." On any day of the week she deals with many clients from different backgrounds, and described a recent work day in which she talked to a gold mine developer, a business owner preparing an IPO in the United States, a museum curator with billions of dollars of art, a homeowner needing protection for a historical home, and a school program developer.
In her free time, Brooke enjoys reading, art, and sports, but admits that her work / life balance as an insurance broker, entrepreneur, and parent has ebbs and flows. Some weeks she will have more time to herself than other weeks, and she rarely takes time off. She explains that the reality of owning a business is that you have to always be connected. But, as a business owner she has autonomy and can make her own decisions about how to spend her work days.
Her favourite thing about her business is "getting inside the lives of people and businesses. I get to hear stories and help people achieve their goals in a very real way." She admits that it's really hard to get everything done when you run a business, but the satisfaction in her work is derived from the feeling of "wow, I helped someone see something differently today; I helped someone achieve their goals today."
SKILLS Brooke recommends honing for the Insurance business (& the generally for the twenty-first century):
- communication skills. In insurance you need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely in writing and orally
- thinking skills
- technological skills
-executive skills: to organize, prioritize, and move something forward.
Regarding career discovery for young people, Brooke believes that there is "an element of fit," and that figuring out your career path doesn't happen right away. Rather, "it evolves."
Brooke would tell her younger self to not be so hard on herself! To let her career just flow a little more.
Another tip: "things have a way of working out. Things change, so roll with it."
Finally, if she wasn't an entrepreneur and insurance broker, Brooke would love to own an art gallery! And maybe she will someday, as she says, "it's never too late to change direction. Every morning get up and have a purpose."
HUNTERS represents over 120 years of experience and sustainable values in the property-casualty insurance brokerage business in Canada. HUNTERS was founded by Brooke Hunter in the belief that the intensity of the interest in and attention to Clients should be what matters.