Causeway Insurance expanding throughout region

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Causeway Insurance is expanding with offices opening in Atikokan and Dryden. Owner John Homer hopes the personal touch of a local broker shows the communities the company cares.

The Atikokan branch of Causeway Insurance officially opened its doors on Monday, Dec. 13. Fulfilling a long-time goal for owner John Homer.

“I’m originally from Atikokan myself,” Homer said. “It’s always been my dream and goal to put up my shingle, or put up my business sign in my hometown.”

Sarah Campbell, former MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, is the broker in the Atikokan office. Homer is excited to have another local community member join his team at Causeway.

“I’m excited to have her on board,” Homer said. “She’s going to be a huge asset to Causeway and help really, really drive that office.”

Until now, Causeway had a local Atikokan phone number that rang at the Fort Frances office. But Homer knows that a friendly face, based in the community, is what people in northwestern Ontario prefer.

“People in northwestern Ontario are a little bit different than say, in Southern Ontario,” Homer says. “People here want to deal with somebody local. They want to come in and sit down across from somebody at a desk and get mad at us if the rates go up or a claim is not going right…So the concept of our expansion is to try to be local in these towns and give them that option.”

Causeway Insurance owner John Homer has gone home; the Atikokan native recently opened a branch in his hometown, and another in Dryden. The Atikokan office, above, will be staffed by former MPP Sarah Campbell. – Facebook photo

The Atikokan branch isn’t the only new member of the Causeway family either. A branch will open in Dryden in January.

Causeway is an insurance broker, which means they deal with many different companies to find their customers the best rates for the coverage they want, and can act as a middle man between customers and companies in cases of claims and other issues that may arise. Homer says this is especially important in the market that Causeway serves.

“One thing we’re trying to do is tailor our service based on what we need in northwestern Ontario,” Homer said. “It’s no different in the companies that we deal with. We have people that buy 850 cc or four-stroke, turbocharged snowmobiles, side-by-sides, cabins with woodstoves, houses with oil tanks, that kind of stuff. So we have to be able to provide service for clients.”

Toward that goal, in the three years that Homer has owned Causeway, he has brought on many more insurance providers.

“When I bought the company in November of 2018, we had three options,” Homer said. “We’re now over 12.”

Aviva Personal Lines, SGI, Coachman, and CAA are companies that Causeway has recently made partnerships with to sell policies in an effort to provide the best available service to their clients. Homer says many people know CAA for their roadside assistance programs but don’t know that they also provide home and auto insurance. With a wide variety of providers, Homer believes they can find a provider for almost everyone who comes to Causeway looking for insurance.

“There’s really not too many people that we can’t place insurance for,” Homer said. “We’ve got different age groups and categories, people’s lifestyles are a little different, so not every company fits every niche, but we feel 90 per cent sure we can place just about anybody.”

Homer also touts Causeway’s personalized approach as a great feature of the company. Many other brokers don’t do what they do, he says.

“When you phone a lot of brokerages nowadays, you don’t get a receptionist and these phones are all automated. The brokerage might have 10 offices and it might ring at any of those offices,” Homer said. “You phone back two hours later and you might get a different person. We don’t do that at Causeway, I have a receptionist in Fort Frances who sits up front and I’ve got a dedicated one in Thunder Bay so (customers) know they’re getting someone right in the office. There’s a little bit of comfort knowing they’re dealing with the same brokers all the time, they’re not getting bounced to different brokers all the time.”