TRADITION OF SUCCESS

R.C. Young and his sons. From left to                                                                                                                                                     The original office that R.C. Young
right: Carl, R.C. and Roger Young.                                                                                                                                                                        established in 1910.

                                             100th Anniversary Gala held at the Sheraton On The Falls Hotel. From left to right: Jason, Cindy, Ryan, Patty and Sandy Valleriani.

                                                YOUNGS INSURANCE BROKERS
                                        Independent brokerage celebrates 100 years of commitment to their clients’ insurance needs.

BY SCOTT LESLIE                                              As one of the largest independent brokerages        ning to get into an accident,” he says. “But when     of insurance services including personal home and
The Business Link                                         in Ontario, Youngs Insurance Brokers recently cel-     you do, it’s a comfort knowing you have a team of     auto, group home and auto, commercial, marine, life
                                                          ebrated the company’s 100th anniversary.               insurance experts behind you that’s ready to help     and financial, not to mention group benefits.

A      fter a century of success, you’d think the
       team at Youngs Insurance Brokers would
have a little time to rest on their laurels. That’s not
                                                             Sandy Valleriani, the President of Youngs Insur-
                                                          ance, says his family-owned brokerage has built
                                                          their success on their ability to offer one thing in
                                                                                                                 at a moment’s notice. At Youngs, we work closely
                                                                                                                 with our clients to make sure they have the right
                                                                                                                 protection—when they need it.”
                                                                                                                                                                          “Since Youngs is a large brokerage, we are able to
                                                                                                                                                                       partner with many insurance companies,” Sandy says.
                                                                                                                                                                       “This allows us to have a variety of products to choose
the case. There’s always another client to help or        particular—peace of mind.                                 With 20 branch locations from Fort Erie to Thun-   from and find the right insurance coverage for our clients.
another new innovative product to introduce.                 “Let’s face it—no one leaves their home plan-       der Bay, Youngs Insurance offers a complete range     We’re a one stop shop for all their insurance needs.”

36         THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA’S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER                                                                                                              APRIL 2011
History In The Making                                   from the firm after having handed over the manage-         tions but were unable to build on the company’s prior
Youngs Insurance has always had a long and proud        ment reins to his sons some years earlier. But Carl       success and several of Young’s branch offices were
history behind it. The firm was originally established   was also busy looking to the future and hoping to         forced to scale back or close altogether.
on May 10th, 1910 by an enterprising young man          bring his son Roger aboard to help run the family
named Robert Carl (R.C.) Young.                         business. Unfortunately, Roger chose to decline his       A Period of Rebirth
   At the time, Robert had borrowed $350 from his       father’s invitation in order to pursue a career in law,   By the 1970s, the Young’s name might have been in
father and opened a small office in the Logan Block                                                                danger of disappearing in the region. However, it was
near the corner of Queen Street and Erie Avenue                                                                   during this time that Sandy Valleriani appeared on the
in Niagara Falls. In those early days, fire and theft                                                              scene, purchasing the R.C. Young Insurance’s Welland
insurance were the most common policies around—                                                                   branch in 1980 with a $175,000 investment.
and Robert could often be found riding around the                                                                     Sandy was quite familiar with the Young’s firm.
downtown core on his bicycle, making sales calls                                                                  Back in 1972, he had worked as an insurance sales
at the various local businesses.                                                                                  associate at R.C. Young Insurance in Niagara Falls
   In the years that followed, Robert worked hard                                                                 and began honing his skills in the insurance indus-
to establish his modest brokerage with the help                                                                   try. Following the sale, Sandy updated their image
of only one employee—his wife, Eileen. However,                                                                   and the firm’s name from “R.C. Young Insurance” to
the firm’s business began to grow steadily. Robert                                                                 “Youngs Insurance Brokers”—and launched a period
would move the office to a second location at the                                                                  of rebirth with the company. The firm would grow into
corner of Queen Street and Ontario Avenue before                                                                  a $3-million operation in just a few short years.
relocating to a more spacious building on 674 St.                                                                     To Sandy, their company’s staff has played no
Clair Avenue.                                                                                                     small part in their success over the years. Many
   By the early 1930s, R.C. Young Insurance had                                                                   employees like their Chief Operating Officer Diane
grown to include five employees. But another key                                                                   Savio have been with the firm since 1980.
member would join the firm in 1936—Robert’s son,                  Diane Savio, Chief Operating Officer
                                                                                                                      Diane began her career with Youngs as the recep-
Carl. For years, Carl had grown up around the family                                                              tionist and she feels proud to have been with the com-
business so he was no stranger to the ins-and-outs                                                                pany for 30 years and since Sandy’s beginnings.
of the insurance business. Working together, the        and Carl was left wondering what do about the fate            “I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Youngs and
father and son team of Robert and Carl would help       of their burgeoning firm.                                  alongside Sandy for so many years,” she says. “I am
the brokerage to experience an incredible period           Unable to hand the family business over to the next    proud of the many accomplishments Sandy has achieved
of growth well into the 1950s—establishing a new        generation, Carl spent several years trying to find an     and I have always supported his business decisions. He
office on 4687 Queen Street and additional branch        investor that could assume ownership of the company.      is the quintessential example of how anything is pos-
locations across Niagara.                               Over the next decade, R.C. Young Insurance would go       sible with hard work and determination.He is an…
   In 1960, R.C. Young Insurance celebrated its 50th    into a challenging period as Carl sold the firm to a
anniversary in business and Robert officially retired    group of employees. The new owners had good inten-                                      Continued on page 39…

APRIL 2011                                                                                                        THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA’S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER   37
                                                  TRADITION OF SUCCESS: YOUNGS INSURANCE BROKERS


Continued from page 37                                    restaurant insurance.
                                                             “We offer value insurance packages for property
…excellent leader and mentor, and I look for-             policies that allow our clients to combine several
ward to celebrating many more years of success            extensions at a reduced premium,” Sandy explains.
at Youngs.”                                               “We have various deductible options, liability limits
    “We have a great relationship with each other,”       and package forms available.”
Sandy says of the Youngs’ team. “We are like fam-            Youngs Insurance prides itself on having access
ily here. Many of our employees have been with us         to one of the largest selection of worldwide insur-
for 15 years or more and that consistency is a big        ance carriers. Some of their providers include AXA
key for us.”                                              Insurance, The Dominion, Aviva Insurance, Intact
    There have been other major developments at           Insurance, Lombard Canada, Pembridge Insurance,
Youngs in recent years. Two years ago, Youngs In-         Royal and Sun Alliance, Optimum Insurance, Coach-
surance acquired TRG Insurance Brokers and The            man Insurance, Chubb Insurance, Peel Maryborough
Marketplace, making it one of Ontario’s largest           Mutual, Zurich Canada and Chieftain Insurance.
insurance brokerages and one of the top indepen-             “Over the years, we have built very strong re-
dently-owned brokerages in all of Canada.                 lationships with our insurance companies,” Sandy
    Today, Youngs Insurance employs over 150 staff        says. “Having these great partnerships allows us to
and has more than 30,000 policy holders. Youngs           tailor policies for clients who may require unique
Insurance now has 20 locations including branch           coverage because the insurance companies trust
offices in Welland, Niagara Falls, Mississauga, Port       our brokers’ judgments.”
Colborne, Ancaster, Brampton, Sault Ste. Marie, St.          When it comes to employee benefits and group
Catharines, Burlington, Fort Erie, Dunnville, Lon-        retirement plans, Youngs Insurance is also a leader
don, Georgetown, Milton, Stouffville, Thunder Bay,        in their field. Their experts can handle everything
Oakville and Waterdown.                                   from benefits and pensions to RRSPs, executive
    Sandy feels their new expanded network of offices      insurance and compensation planning.
has really helped their company—and their clients.           “We manage employee benefit programs for a
    “We have a very strong local presence,” he ex-        variety of Canadian firms from coast to coast,” San-
plains. “Our clients can go into any of our offices        dy says. “Our clients range from small mom and pop
and our customer service team can help them—              companies to large brand name corporations with
even if they purchased their insurance from a broker      franchises across Canada. We even provide advice
in Welland, any office can assist them. Our clients        to many national and international companies.”
really appreciate that sense of convenience.”
    Technology has revolutionized the insurance           The Youngs Advantage
business from the days when the R.C. Young and            According to Sandy, dealing with an insurance
his employees would rely on ledgers and paper files        brokerage like Youngs can provide people with a
to get their job done.                                    number of advantages.
    At Youngs Insurance, most documents such as              “Most direct writers deal with only one type of
renewals are now received electronically, and paper       product,” he explains. “But brokerages have several
manuals and storage have become a thing of the            products to choose from. In our case, we represent
past. However, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed      over 20 insurance companies so we have a great
from the early days. That’s the personal element.         deal of solutions to choose from to help meet the
    “When clients call our company, they are always       needs of our clients. Our brokers work diligently to
speaking with a live person,” Sandy explains. “We         get them the best coverage at the best price.”
don’t operate as a call centre. Our receptionists an-        At Youngs Insurance, all their brokers undergo
swer every call personally and transfer the call to       rigorous training and regularly attend annual train-
the appropriate person. We are always mindful of          ing courses in order to maintain their Registered
keeping our services at a very personal level.”           Insurance Broker of Ontario licenses. Sandy says
                                                          that belief in continuous learning and improvement
Service and Selection                                     applies to all their employees.
Youngs Insurance is more than just your average              “Our staff is always being trained in-house or by
insurance broker. Their firm offers a wide variety of      company representatives so our staff is extremely
investment and insurance products which includes          knowledgeable when it comes to the products we
term insurance, permanent insurance, life insurance,      can offer to clients,” he says. “We work in teams
business insurance, disability insurance, critical ill-   so our junior employees are consistently mentored
ness, group benefits, estate planning, segregated          by our senior staff members and learn from them
funds, annuities, group pension plans, investment         along the way.”
funds, life income funds, investment savings ac-             Sandy says one of Youngs Insurance’s big
counts, RESPs and RRSPs.                                  strengths is the close contact they keep with their
   One of Youngs Insurance’s strongest suits has          clients. It’s been a great way for them to get to know
always been their selection. To start, Youngs Insur-      their clients better and tailor their services to better
ance handles a wide range of personal insurance           meet their needs and lifestyle.
policies including homes, condominiums, seasonal             “We strive to be in touch with our clients through
and rental properties, mobile and second homes,           phone calls and emails,” he says. “We have been
and hobby farms. They also provide a variety of           working on our courtesy calls and have been asking
personal auto insurance products including cover-         clients if they have an email address so we can keep
age of automobiles, motorcycles, trailers, watercraft,    them better informed about things like changes in
snowmobiles, classic cars, motor homes and all-ter-       the insurance industry. Many of our clients appreci-
rain vehicles.                                            ate corresponding by email.”
   Youngs Insurance has a full-service commercial            Youngs Insurance is also a firm believer in doing
department with over 100 years of combined experi-        the right thing for their clients. Their Youngs 50plus
ence. Here, Youngs can offer a variety of commercial      program is a good example. Youngs 50plus…
lines products such as fleet, building and liability
policies, rental properties, corner stores, malls and                                      Continued on page 40

APRIL 2011                                                                      THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA’S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER   39
                                                                 TRADITION OF SUCCESS: YOUNGS INSURANCE BROKERS

Continued from page 39                                                                                                                                                            Ryan and Jason have always been impressed by
                                                                                                                                                                               their father and the work he has accomplished dur-
…is a program designed to provide lower home and                                                                                                                               ing his 30 years at the helm of Youngs Insurance.
auto insurance premiums to individuals aged 50 and                                                                                                                                “We are very proud to be celebrating our associa-
over. Their company launched the program in 2007                                                                                                                               tion with a company that has provided uninterrupted
and it has been incredibly successful to date.                                                                                                                                 service for its clients for a whole century,” Jason says.
    The team at Youngs Insurance has always held                                                                                                                               “But we also have an overwhelming gratitude to our
fast to their belief in putting the client first. And                                                                                                                           father because of his courage, vision and energy, and
that’s true of their commitment to being available                                                                                                                             for bringing this company to where it is today.”
whenever their clients need them.                                                                                                                                                 Ryan believes the future of the company is get-
    One good example is Youngs Insurance’s innova-                                                                                                                             ting brighter all the time.
tive website that offers real-time auto insurance                                                                                                                                 “If the future reflects the past,” he says, “we
quotes. Here, clients can request insurance quotes                                                                                                                             have the utmost confidence as to where Youngs
online for home, life, disability and group insurance.                                                                                                                         Insurance will go from here. Our father’s enthusiasm
The site offers a range of insurance tips on how cus-                                                                                                                          and excitement about opportunities that he sees
tomers can protect their families, their businesses                                                                                                                            ahead makes it impossible for us not to support his
and themselves. They also provide a quarterly news-                                                                                                                            goals and business decisions.”
letter to keep their clients informed of all the latest                                                                                                                           Although Sandy expanded Youngs Insurance by
developments in the industry.                                                                                                                                                  acquiring TRG Insurance Brokers and The Market-
    Clients can even call Youngs 24 hours a day,                         The Valleriani management team. From left to right: Jason, Sandy and Ryan.                            place, he would still like to see the firm continue to
seven days a week, if they experience a loss and                                                                                                                               grow through further acquisitions and the natural
need to make a claim after hours.                                                                                                                                              growth of the business. He’s hoping to increase busi-
    “We have worked hard to provide our clients           people in Niagara and abroad. Some causes include            “We have representatives in every municipality          ness by 25% in the next five years.
with the utmost in personal service,” Sandy says.         the YMCA, the Niagara Food Festival, the Open Arms        in Niagara,” Sandy says of their community involve-           According to Sandy, the Youngs team takes great
“When our clients make a claim, they can trust our        Mission and the Niagara Children’s Safety Village.        ment. “So we are very sensitive to the needs of the        pride in being there for all their clients’ insurance
experts to handle their claim quickly and efficiently.        “We pride ourselves on our involvement and dedi-       communities where we live and work. Our team has           needs. And they always will be there.
It is important to us that our clients know we are al-    cation to those in need,” Sandy says. “Helping those      dedicated thousands of hours with various charities,          “For 100 years, Youngs has been working for
ways here to help them when they need it most.”           in our community is a big part of our work ethic.”        and we will always be committed to giving some-            its clients to ensure they have the right protection
                                                             The Youngs team have several causes in particu-        thing back to the communities that support us.”            when they need it,” Sandy explains. “It’s been a
Caring For Their Community                                lar that are close to their hearts. For instance, each                                                               great ride. But we’re looking forward to celebrating
Over the years, Youngs Insurance has always taken         Christmas Youngs Insurance adopts two local families      The Future Is Looking “Young”                              many more anniversaries to come.”
great pride in being a strong supporter of the lo-        through the Salvation Army buying gifts for the entire    Recently, Youngs Insurance held a special 100th An-
cal community. Three years ago, Sandy launched            family as well as food for Christmas. They also collect   niversary Gala at the Sheraton On The Falls Hotel          On Wednesday, April 20th, Youngs Insurance staff
the Youngs Insurance Annual Golf Tournament that          food around the holidays for animals at the Welland       in Niagara Falls to commemorate their 100 years            will be holding an open house for their clients at
helps raise money for local charities and non-profit       Humane Society. The staff participates in the Terry Fox   of service to the Niagara Region. The Youngs In-           all their Niagara locations. Here, clients will have
organizations. In its first year, they raised funds for    Run every year, and Youngs has raised $18,748 to date     surance team was recognized by several local and           the opportunity to meet the Youngs team and
the Welland Downtown Board to help decorate the           for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research.         national dignitaries at their gala including Prime         help celebrate the firm’s 100th anniversary.
downtown area for the Christmas holidays.                    Youngs Insurance has been a particularly active        Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Dalton McGuinty
   Just this past September, Youngs Insurance held        supporter of the Welland Soccer Club, sponsoring a        and Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson.                     This article is dedicated to the memory of David
their second annual tournament at the Legends on          soccer team each year. (Sandy has been involved with          The celebration was a great way to mark their illus-   Hagarty who helped uncover many stories on
the Niagara golf course. Over 200 golfers took part       the Welland Soccer Club as president and director         trious past and Sandy’s 30th anniversary of purchasing     the history of Youngs Insurance for their 100th
in the event, raising $35,000 towards the construc-       and his sons Ryan and Jason have both played soccer       the company. But Youngs Insurance is always looking        anniversary celebrations.
tion of the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara’s new          there for many years.) They are also strong mem-          ahead to the future. In recent years, his sons Ryan and
facility on McLeod Road in Niagara Falls. This year,      bers of the Welland-Pelham Chamber of Commerce,           Jason have taken on senior management positions
they will be raising money for Big Brothers / Big         co-hosting their Annual Charity Auction that raises       with the company as vice-presidents.
Sisters of South Niagara.                                 thousands of dollars for many local charities.                “When my sons take over, I know they will continue
   As a company, Youngs employees are involved               Sandy himself has received countless awards            to run the family business with the same ethics and
with many charitable organizations in the commu-          and recognitions for his dedication to his custom-        determination that I have,” Sandy says. “I wouldn’t
nity, whether it’s helping with the needs of children,    ers and his community over the years. He received         have any of the successes I have today if it weren’t for
the poor, the elderly or the disadvantaged. Each          the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year              my family. They are a big inspiration to me and they
year, Youngs Insurance and their employees have           Award in 2003, the Chamber of Commerce Award              provide me with a great deal of support. My wife, Patty,      Head Office: 55 East Main Street, Welland
donated their time and resources to dozens of local       of Merit in 2006, and the Niagara Entrepreneur of         provides me with an unlimited amount of support and          Tel: 905.735.7212 Toll Free: 1.800.789.0096
events and charities to help improve the lives of         the Year Award in 2008.                                   I will never be able to thank her enough.”                   

40         THE BUSINESS LINK NIAGARA NIAGARA’S BUSINESS NEWSPAPER                                                                                                                     APRIL 2011

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