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Lawrie Insurance Group employees celebrating together at its holiday party.Provided

When Milena Lewandowski started working for Lawrie Insurance Group Inc. (LIG), it was typical of how many young college and university students enter the workforce – after meeting company representatives at an on-campus job fair. “I graduated on Friday and started on Monday,” she says.

After 13 years, she began working with a regional chapter of a not-for-profit insurance industry organization. Then one day during lunch with a former colleague, he encouraged her to consider an opportunity that had come up at LIG. She did and in 2022, Lewandowski was welcomed back to the Hamilton, Ont., family-owned business.

She says that to her, like many millennials, it’s important to work for a purpose- and values-driven organization. “I trust their values and I believe in the same values,” Lewandowski says.

One of the largest independent brokerages in Canada, LIG specializes in personal and commercial insurance, offering risk management and product services to companies in sectors as varied as property management, manufacturing and life sciences. It also offers companies a wide range of customizable group retirement, life and living benefits products and services.

President and CEO Bob Lawrie says LIG is committed to doing what’s best for its clients, employees and community. That people-first stance has been a top priority since his father, Dan Lawrie, founded an independent brokerage in 1982 to provide insurance based only on clients’ needs.

The business has since grown, evolved and codified its five core values – passion, integrity, excellence, results and citizenship.

“I’m really proud of where we are and where we’re going,” Lawrie says. “As an independent brokerage, we’re not influenced by any of the large insurance companies or private equity firms. That sets us apart since it allows us to make decisions that are best for our clients and employees.

“We work with the top insurance companies from around the world to provide tailor-made solutions that address each client’s particular needs.”

That independence resonates not only with clients, but with employees who appreciate the opportunity to work locally for a family business with a global reach. “People want to be part of something special,” Lawrie says. “There’s a shared sense of belonging.”

LIG further fosters a collaborative team environment with activities throughout the year that range from town halls and celebrations of employee achievement to family-friendly barbecues. Employees also have one paid day off a year to volunteer in the community and they often band together on projects.

Remaining independent also means LIG can take a long-term approach to business matters such as learning and professional training programs for its employees, Lawrie says. LIG, for example, has a tuition reimbursement program for courses related and unrelated to their careers.

“Insurance is a relationship business and I love seeing people develop,” says Lawrie. That includes his son, Brett Lawrie, who’s been advancing along his own career path since he joined the firm in 2016.

In Lewandowski’s case, that meant ensuring she had the support, time and tools she needed to progress through four levels of insurance industry certifications and designations over a 10-year period.

Today she’s a senior associate broker on LIG’s commercial insurance team where she specializes in the construction field. It’s a long way from where she started as a 20-year-old with a college diploma in insurance.

“I practically grew up here,” she says. “It feels good to be part of a caring culture. They really care about everyone who works here and make sure they take time to recognize and celebrate achievement.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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