After working in Personal Lines and Commercial Lines Underwriting, last year Gore Mutual’s Cameron Mitchell took on a new challenge by accepting a role as Business Development and Commercial Accounts Manager on our Western Commercial Insurance Solutions team.
Get to know more about him in our latest Meet Our People segment.
How long have you been at Gore Mutual? Can you tell us a little bit about your professional experience before coming here?
I’ve been with Gore Mutual for more than seven years. In college I studied politics and history but realized I didn’t actually want to work in either field, so after graduating I took my dad’s advice and signed up for some finance and insurance courses. I enjoyed the insurance courses the most and was lucky enough to get a job at a brokerage, where I worked for a couple of years. Since joining Gore Mutual I’ve worked in Personal and Commercial Lines Underwriting, and I moved into Business Development in late 2019. Working as a broker gave me some useful insights on how customers see insurance – I recommend it as a great place to start in the industry. Insurance is full of opportunities and various career paths, and there’s a real need for ambitious young folks.
What are some things you love about working here?
It’s becoming cliché to say “the people,” but it’s true. We’ve got a great team in our Vancouver office and there’s a lot of comradery here. Another thing I love about working at Gore Mutual is how forward the organization is. In the years I’ve been here, we’ve gone through some major changes and the next 10 years are going to be even more exciting and fulfilling as our Next Horizon strategy comes to life. There’s always another project and there are so many opportunities to grow and learn something new. It’s a great time to be at Gore Mutual.
Last year you transitioned from Underwriting to our Business Development team. What are some of the things you’ve learned in your new role?
There are a lot of parallels between Business Development and Underwriting. In both roles you take ownership of your book, become an expert in your products and services and work on building relationships with your brokers to be an asset to them. Underwriters focus on honing their technical skills to manage risk, which I enjoyed, but moving to Business Development has given me more time to focus on relationship building. This role gives you the freedom to seek out new opportunities with brokers, work with our Claims and Underwriting teams to find creative solutions when we hit roadblocks, attend industry events and keep an ear to the ground for important news and feedback. I’m constantly reminded of how unique each broker is – there’s no one-size solution for our partners, and so no two days are ever the same, which I love.
How is our Western Business Development team continuing to grow and evolve to better support our broker partners?
Our Business Development team here in BC has an entrepreneurial spirit that makes us unique. We continuously find new opportunities that enable our brokers to grow and serve our customers better, and we want to hear honest feedback about the barriers. We’re closely connected to our Underwriters, we know the issues that make the marketplace unique here in the West, and ultimately, we’re focused on having a simple, common sense approach to doing business.
Since joining our Business Development team, you’ve been involved with meeting charities for GivingTuesday, our food bank donations and more. Why do you feel it’s important for Gore Mutual to give back to the communities where we do business?
It’s a huge privilege and a humbling experience to be able to represent Gore Mutual and meet with the charities receiving grants. I hope that everyone who works at Gore Mutual or supports us knows we’re partnering with some incredibly deserving charities that are truly grateful for our donations. One that stuck with me was the Covenant House in Vancouver, just a few blocks from our office. They were selected for GivingTuesday and we took a brief tour of their facility. This organization provides critical services to at-risk teenagers, like shelter, food and safety. They’re also working on a new building as we speak to keep up with the need. It’s extremely evident when you meet with organizations like this one that our Foundation is giving back exactly where it’s needed most, in the communities where we live and work.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t microwave fish in the office if you want coworkers to like you? Ok, second best advice: Speak up! Nobody is going to set you up with the perfect time to chime in with your ideas – sometimes you’re going to have to take a chance and put yourself out there. And just remember, if you’re thinking it, chances are that someone else in the room is too.
What’s something people might not know about you?
Growing up I always thought I wanted to be a chef. I watched too much Food Network and was a big Iron Chef fan. In high school I got my first job as a cook in a bistro and worked there on weekends and summers. I quickly realized that it wasn’t my top career choice anymore. It’s a tough industry with hot kitchens, long hours, nasty injuries and grumpy line cooks. It’s nothing like you see on TV. It was a character-building experience, though – at least that’s what the chefs used to call it when I’d be peeling 50-pound bags of carrots or making 300 crab cakes. Overall, I’m glad I did it. I got some great life experience and became a decent home cook, if I say so myself.
Gore Mutual recently announced an ambitious new strategic direction. What excites you about the company’s plans for the future?
Next Horizon is bold. You just don’t see this from finance or insurance companies every day, let alone a mid-size Canadian mutual insurer. The new initiatives include expanding nationally, being purpose driven and being a digital leader. Purpose Driven is an idea that I’m really interested in. My friends and I have been talking about purpose-based companies a lot recently. During the Superbowl, there was an ad for a company that’s converting land into organic farmland for every beverage sold. That had us all chatting during halftime about what purpose-based companies can accomplish. I think having a corporate purpose is going to add even more meaning and value to working for Gore Mutual and being our customer.