What I’ve Learned: Cari Gustavsen, 2010 Policy Works Ninja


Cari Gustavsen is the Branch Manager at Western Financial Group (South) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. We asked her to share her thoughts about the critical role management plays in the successful adoption of new software technology.


How long have you been in the industry and where was your first job in insurance?

I began my insurance career straight out of high school working as a file clerk at Royal Insurance. I took a year off to try my hand at college; realized I no longer enjoyed school and went back to work at the Royal.

When was the first time you saw Policy Works and what were your initial thoughts of the program?

When I moved to Medicine Hat in 2003, I joined Thomsen Fisher Insurance. They purchased Policy Works the year before and were using it fully for Lloyd’s policy issuance, but were unable to get the program completely integrated with the remaining commercial staff.

My role was to integrate the book I was working on into Policy Works. While doing that, I was able to demonstrate the efficiencies the program created to the rest of the staff. One of my first files was a complex, sizable account that I needed to remarket. I spent hours searching for information in paper files and grilling long-term staff on their knowledge of the risk so I could enter that data into Policy Works. We never had to spend that amount of time on that file again! My favourite feature then was marketing and it still is!

As branch manager of a brokerage, what makes a brokerage prosper or succeed?

I believe the success of a brokerage is based on efficiencies and professionalism. We have such high demands these days to grow our books of business, even in these tough economic times. To do that we must have efficient processes and systems in place that gives us time to approach prospects and create realistic relationships with our clients and suppliers.

We also need to be able to present ourselves as professionals in our industry. Our clients are relying on our professionalism and advice for items that are important to them. Policy Works is a product that helps with both of these.

What do you think is critical to successful implementation of technology at a brokerage?

If you’re able to clearly demonstrate the benefits that technology brings to your job, it will not be an issue to get everyone on board with the implementation of that product.

If there’s any advice you could give to a new Policy Works user, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to play around and have fun with it. There is nothing you can do in Policy Works to cause the world to stop turning—so go ahead and try it. I guarantee you will love it. You will wonder how you managed without it!

Topics: Lloyd's, Workflow, Implementation, What I've Learned