Laura Bolster, Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services

Laura Bolster is the President/COO and a partner at Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services, a local and proudly independent insurance brokerage offering all areas of insurance including business, home, auto, marine and life and benefits. She’s been with the company for over half of its lifetime — Megson Fitzpatrick was founded 50 years ago by UVIC roommates Michael Megson and David FitzPatrick.

How is Megson Fitzpatrick coping right now?

I am very happy with how MFI has and is responding to this challenging situation. We are staying positive and doing our best to keep our team engaged and connected remotely.  Our technology investments over the past number of years have positioned us well to deal with this new environment.

How has the crisis affected your business, and how do you anticipate it will continue to affect it? 

We are fortunate in that Insurance is still necessary for most people and businesses. Our goal is to be able to retain 100% of our 100 team members during this crisis and to date we have been able to accomplish this. Although we are closed to the public, we have found ways to continue to conduct business from home through technology. COVID-19 will still have a financial impact on our business and so, like many others, we’ve had to take a serious look at our expenses and make prudent expense management decisions. We know many small businesses in Victoria (many of whom are clients) have suffered as a result of the lockdown and we feel for them immensely.

What advice are you giving yourself and your team for riding this out?

The health and safety of our team, clients and community has been our top priority. We’ve advised our team to stay healthy, safe and take care of themselves and their families; this in turn will allow our team to be available to take care of our clients. I’ve been staying positive, grateful and thankful to be living in Canada and certainly in BC. We are in good hands.

What is the opportunity in the challenge for you and your business? 

We see a significant opportunity in our technology platform. Everyone has had to advance their use of technology through COVID-19 and we see consumer expectations changing on the other side of all of this so we want to be ready to provide the solutions our clients are looking for when it comes to the delivery of their insurance needs. We’ve laid some great foundations to set ourselves up for success and plan to continue to be proactive when it comes to technology. Personally, I’m excited about the new-found strength and adaptability of our leadership team. We have bonded over this experience which will only help us moving forward with future challenges — although this one really does take the prize!

What advice have you applied or are you applying from previous experiences coping through crises?

Have a solid team, strong communication, be decisive, stay positive and, as corny as it sounds, know that we are all in this together and we will be a much stronger team when this is behind us.

What are your resources right now? Do you have a mentor supporting you, peer group, books you read?

We have a great leadership team that has really stepped up in this time and together we are tackling everything head on as a team. My business partners and the Rogers Group have offered great support for both myself and Megson Fitzpatrick. I am also a member of the MacKay CEO Forum and my MacKay peer group and business coach meet weekly, plus the Forum is offering daily inspiring virtual leadership events that have been very helpful and supportive.

What advice do you have for others experiencing this alongside you?

Be realistic but also optimistic and try not to dwell on the heaviness of it all. Find creative ways to be able to still have some fun and laughs along the way.