- TAYLOR STRANAGHAN
JEFF HALL, President & Broker, J Hall Insurance Brokers Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Jeff Hall, of J Hall Insurance, Toronto, Ontario, is a young entrepreneur who has taken the leap in starting his very own insurance brokerage. Jeff is a passionate professional with over a decade of experience helping make home, auto, commercial, and agricultural insurance simple and affordable.
Now, with his own brokerage, he focuses on providing convenient and accessible services to his clients while also prioritizing his commitment to strong customer service. Follow along to learn more about Jeff as he shares his top values, how he fosters lasting client relationships, and what sets him apart in this industry.
Building a Business from the Bottom
In his early days, Jeff began his career fresh out of school. “After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts, I started applying to jobs right off the hop,” he says. “Eventually, I got my first job with RBC Insurance as a home and auto claims adjuster.”
While at RBC Insurance, he quickly came to realize that claims were not for him. “I wanted to explore sales opportunities, and apply my claims knowledge to better serve the clients,” he says. “So, I left this role and started working for Co-operators Insurance, specializing in life insurance and commercial sales. Here, I spent about three years working hard, learning the role, and educating myself on the ins and outs of insurance sales.”
Jeff soon came to realize that he wanted to get away from the life insurance side. “It was not my cup of tea, being a young individual trying to sell life insurance to other younger individuals — it just wasn't something I was passionate about,” he says. “I wanted to shift my focus to personal lines of insurance.
From an early age, Jeff felt like working in the insurance industry was a natural fit for him. “My dad worked in insurance for thirty years, so I had an excellent connection and mentor from the beginning,” he explained. “I was drawn to the profession after seeing how flexible my dad’s career was. He was always able to make time to be at my sporting events, and for me, this was the kind of work-life balance I was looking to achieve in the future.”
“Given the connection I had, it made sense for me to leave my role at the Co-operators and approach my dad’s employer to inquire about joining their team as a salesperson at a North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company,” Jeff says. “I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such a reputable company as I believe they have played a pivotal role in shaping my expertise and knowledge of the insurance industry.”
With over a decade of experience and a wealth of knowledge to carry forward, Jeff felt the time was right to break away and start his own company. “In November 2022, I approached an organization called ProLink broker network, which is an association that helps brokers start brokerages and foster relationships with insurance companies,” he says. “Next thing I knew, I had moved from Plattsville Ontario to Toronto to open my own insurance brokerage as a self employed entrepreneur.”
Transitioning to Self-Employment as an Insurance Broker
Jeff experienced some major differences after switching from working with a team to being self employed. While he notes he had flexibility in his former position, he was only selling products and services for one company. This meant that he had limited options if a client didn’t like his price or the coverage did not suit the client’s needs.
“Without having the ability to compare my prices or coverages, there was a higher chance I’d lose my client,” Jeff says. “Rather, where I am now as a self-employed broker, I’m able to sign for five to six different companies and offer my clients multiple options on coverage and prices.”
This is where Jeff came to realize the big shift in his focus. “I didn’t want to work for the company anymore. Instead, I wanted to shift my focus to working for the client so I can do what’s best for them in terms of convenience, price, and coverage.”
Modern, Accessible, and Customer-Focused: A Look into Jeff's Brokerage
What sets Jeff’s brokerage apart from its competitors is its focus on being modern, accessible, remote, and mobile. Jeff's brokerage is not bound by a physical location, allowing him to offer his clients more flexible and personalized services. “I don’t have a retail brick-and-mortar store,” Jeff explains. “Working from home allows me the freedom to do either virtual or in-person meetings where I can focus on providing excellent customer service. Since most of my clients have a range of schedules, it gives me the upper hand in being available and accessible through various means.”
“I would say my top value is customer service.”
Above all else, Jeff lists his responsiveness, availability, and timely communication as his main priorities under the umbrella of customer service. “I’m always responsive to people,” he says. “Whether I’m answering questions based on my experience and knowledge or doing the background research to get the right answers, I value offering my clients top-notch advice whenever and wherever possible.”
From an available standpoint, Jeff is willing to go above and beyond to keep in touch with his clients, however is convenient for them. “Unlike past generations where you have to go to someone’s house or business to talk about insurance, I can have my clients call or text me to chat. I think this makes our response time a lot better.”
Ideal Client Market and Sales Strategies in the Insurance Business
Jeff mentions that his ideal client market is somewhere between the ages of 25 and 55; those who own a house, cottage, car, or small business. “This group is perfect because I can usually bring everything together with one insurance provider,” Jeff says. “This particular demographic is the one I'm in contact with the most, whether it be through business, sports, or other community events that I participate in.”
Jeff emphasizes that his experience on the claims side of the business has taught him the necessary skills for becoming a better salesperson. “I have witnessed numerous negative claims situations that did not end well for individuals,” he explains. “I use these experiences to help people determine the coverage they require based on their unique circumstances. Sharing these stories and other practical examples with my clients helps me establish trust and foster relationships — both of which are necessary for successful salespeople.”
Another important trait Jeff brings to the table is his personality. “Oftentimes, salespeople carry the stereotype of being pushy,” Jeff says. “I view myself as being calm, laid back, and positive. I’m not going to force anything, because that never pays off in the long run. Instead, I offer the best advice I can, then allow my client to make the final decision.”
“My goal is to make insurance simple and convenient, yet educational. I do my best to put insurance in plain English so it’s clear to my clients what they are paying for, why it’s important, and trust that they are covered.”
Offering a Tailored Approach to Insurance
By staying informed, Jeff is far better equipped to identify gaps in coverage and ensure that clients have the protection they need. “It’s important to educate yourself so you can educate the client,” he explains. “Insurance carriers are continuously changing their products, so it’s important to keep clients up to speed on what’s going on. Some insurance policies get old or outdated. With training, I am more equipped to pinpoint exactly what they may be missing.”
“My process is to explain every coverage, one by one, such as why a specific item is necessary, using past claims stories to help me justify why I am focusing on one area instead of another, ultimately helping my clients understand the cost of that specific item.”
“When I quote a client, I am quoting them ‘full coverage’, demonstrating the all-encompassing coverage they could be getting if they wanted it,” Jeff says. “Next, I review each portion of their policy, removing the parts the client does not require. This helps reduce the price, making it more competitive compared to other brokers. This way, I can offer both the 'worst case scenario’ and ‘best case scenario' coverages, giving the client the power to decide what they prefer.”
Now more than ever before, Jeff recognizes the financial pressures that people are facing. With this, he remains committed to providing his clients with comprehensive coverage. “I prefer that people are not exposed to a high-risk situation by having the right insurance,” Jeff explains. “By creating solutions to help my clients overcome the challenge of reducing their insurance coverage, I can save them more money without sacrificing the coverage they actually need.”
At the end of the day, Jeff finds it meaningful when he is able to help clients through the insurance process, free from stress. “Everyone needs insurance, but you never actually want to use it,” Jeff says. “However, if you have to use it, you want to make sure that you can use it right and someone is there to support you. As a broker, I can be more involved in this process with my clients to help them navigate their claims successfully. Whether my client needs to fix their basement or their car, I am involved in every step. It’s incredibly rewarding to me when all is said and done and my clients are thankful they had me to fall back on during hard times.”
Navigating Challenges and Embracing Opportunities
Jeff’s transition to self-employment is a work in progress, and he acknowledges that it has its challenges. While he always enjoyed working with a team, he feels that being self-employed gives him more control over the business, allowing him to work towards his goals more efficiently.
“It’s tricky at times,” he explains. “There's a lot to learn on the business side of things, such as how to balance various tasks like learning about insurance carriers and starting a corporation.
To stay organized, it's important to prioritize daily tasks and avoid losing focus. Working from home can help with this, as it allows for a focused environment.”
With great relationships that have helped him advance his career, Jeff continues to be determined to make his insurance brokerage successful. Despite the challenges that he may face in this industry, he is excited about the opportunities that being self-employed brings in a city like Toronto, and is looking forward to what the future holds.
Taylor Stranaghan is a skilled business content writer and editor who brings forth a wealth of knowledge and expertise. With years of experience crafting compelling narratives, she excels at producing high-quality, engaging content that informs, educates, and inspires readers.
J Hall Insurance Brokers Inc.
Jeff Hall, President & Broker
226 - 929 - 2884