Tina Osen, tall and trim, exudes quiet confidence as she leads a brief tour of her offices. “We are growing,” she says, “so space may become an issue at some point.” That growth is one of the hallmarks of her career at HUB International insurance brokerages. Another hallmark is reflected in her award as a Diversity Champion 2016 by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. For Osen, diversity, community involvement, and teamwork all come together in an extraordinarily successful package.
Osen operates out of HUB’s Greater Vancouver office, located on a quiet industrial street in Burnaby, but she heads up the entirety of the Canadian division for what is the country’s largest insurance brokerage company (it’s also a top eight global broker in the world). Progress in the industry has been relatively rapid for Osen, her leadership skills garnering attention and making her a highly valued team member. She became CEO of HUB International’s Greater Vancouver division in 2004—that was 10 years after joining the company as an entry-level sales associate. She assumed the Canadian presidency of HUB on Jan. 1, 2017.
It has been pretty much a lifelong passion for Osen. Her father owned an insurance brokerage business, and Osen was attracted to it early on. “I just loved the business from the beginning,” she says. Osen’s sister also joined the business for a time, but didn’t have the same love for the industry; she left and then opened Misch boutique in South Granville. Osen’s father’s firm was acquired by HUB in 1999.
“Everyone needs insurance,” she says. “That’s what makes the job so interesting.”
Insurance brokers are the conduit between insured parties (be they individuals or businesses) and the various (often global) insurance companies who provide coverage. Those companies have a deep pool of financial resources, and investors in such firms are participating in risk management—they are counting on the amount of money collected from insured parties being greater than the amount of insurance claims paid out. Canada is considered an attractive and politically stable market, so there are regular new entrants into the arena. HUB, which has its head offices in Chicago, is able to attract capital to this environment, which ultimately drives more choice and product for consumers.
The rationale behind HUB is, as Osen explains, “creating the best client service possible, from home insurance, to employee benefit plans, to complicated risk management placements. Customer expectations are rising all the time, and our company serves local communities at a very high level.” HUB has access to virtually all the major insurers, and can match any individual client’s needs to just the right package. “Everyone needs insurance,” she says. “That’s what makes the job so interesting.”
While “a strong work ethic” drives her, balance is also key. “I do travel a fair amount for this job, and going forward that might even increase. But I make a serious effort to have enough quality time with my family,” she says. “The four of us—my husband and two daughters—always have dinner together, and I treat my personal calendar just as meticulously as my professional calendar.”
Osen places much emphasis on employee diversity; it reflects the reality of each brokerage office operating under the HUB International banner. And communication is at the top of her list of priorities. She supports her leadership team, helping remove roadblocks to allow them to be the most effective in their roles. It is about installing helpful systems, educational opportunities, all kinds of corporate aid for the individuals who are on the ground at the customer service level. “We use employee engagement surveys to help us understand what is happening, where we need to take action, and how to help our employees be their best,” she says. There are three key elements: career paths, training, and development.
HUB’s remarkable performance in Canada, currently representing about $4 billion in annual premium writings, is the clearest indication that Osen’s advocacy and team-building skills are deeply effective in the marketplace, where it matters most. “With the best professionals supported by a great company that nurtures them and enables them, we want our service to be the best there is,” she emphasizes. It may seem simple enough, but it takes strong, clear-minded, and progressive leadership. It takes Tina Osen.