Since 1952 Binbrook Insurance Brokers has built a solid reputation as being a dedicated community contributor to its namesake town. This family business has thrived by working with the best insurance companies to deliver dependable protection and personalized service. Lenard Eybel, President of Binbrook Insurance Brokers sat down for lunch with Chris Hibbs, Marketing & Distribution Officer of Nova Mutual Insurance and shared his family’s story.
Binbrook is a fast-growing town with deep roots in farming, small business, and hometown pride. Lenard explained that Binbrook Insurance Brokers is proudly named after the town it was founded in and has been a community staple for over 60 years. Four Generations of family have provided personalized service to Policyholders. Lenard was proud to share that his Clients love knowing they can call the office and speak directly to a person who cares. Someone who knows them by name, and sometimes even to get a little fatherly advice. “Don’t speed, don’t tailgate, and don’t turn left when you can’t see what’s coming.” Lenard emphasised with a grin.
Binbrook Insurance Brokers can trace its roots back to Grandfather, David J Woodwork who started David J Woodwork Insurance Agency in 1952. David was a man of many talents; and before starting his insurance agency he farmed, drove the school bus, and even held the position of Deputy Reeve of Binbrook Township.
Wherever David was, his resilient and dedicated daughter, Shirley wasn’t far behind. Shirley worked hard in all areas of the farming operation including driving the tractor and keeping track of the books. The latter skill came in handy with her father’s transition into the Insurance business. Shirley kept right up with him and soon she was asked to share her bookkeeping skills with the Binbrook Fair, a volunteer position which she held for 44 years.
The company was part of an important amalgamation of three area Mutuals in 1970; Walpole, Binbrook & Saltfleet Mutual Fire Insurance Companies all formed Wabisa Mutual with just two dedicated agents. This desire to enhance service and sustainability for Policyholders is carried on by Nova Mutual Insurance, a new Mutual formed January 1, 2019 through the amalgamation of that same Wabisa Mutual and Norfolk Mutual. Nova Mutual is proud to continue the business partnership with Binbrook Insurance Brokers that has existed for almost 50 years.
In 1978 Shirley’s husband Claude Eybel left Proctor and Gamble and joined his father-in-law in the insurance business. “Binbrook Insurance Agency Ltd” was formed and a new location in 1979 was a promising year in the company’s history. Lenard told stories of working with his dad at the office part-time during high school “for 50 cents an hour” Lenard reminisced with a smile. Lenard had a good laugh as he explained how his high school senior yearbook ‘future ambition’ was to “be a professional snowmobile racer”, and that “working for my father” would represent the ultimate disappointment. Thankfully, after some self-reflection, Lenard realized that a life with the family business meant- independence, a sense of home, and opportunities that would not be available to him should he have gone with one of the then readily available factory jobs. So, after high school, Lenard went to college to obtain his insurance certification, becoming one of the original RIBO Licensed Brokers. Binbrook Insurance Brokers is a proud member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Hamilton with Lenard serving on the Board for over 30 years, including holding various positions including President. Brittany followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the board in 2017. In 1990 Claude and Shirley’s daughter, Karen left the Ministry of Revenue to become an insurance broker and join the family business.
The 20th century brought lots of change. Sadly in 2014, Shirley passed away suddenly at age 72. She had spent her life devoted to her family, her family’s business, and the Binbrook Community; her hometown. After Shirley passed, the family pulled together and two of Lenard’s daughters joined the team; Heather left Brant Mutual in 2015 and Brittany left Erie Mutual in 2016 making it the fourth generation at Binbrook Insurance Brokers. In 2014/15 Claude began the transition to retiring by working part-time and then handing the reins over to Lenard and Karen.
Nova Mutual’s name might be new, but the relationship with Binbrook Insurance Brokers is nearly 50 years old. With shared goals of providing exceptional service to Policyholders and maintaining good business relationships, both companies feel that the future is bright and are champions of change. Next Fall, Binbrook Insurance Brokers will move to a brand-new office facility, leaving behind a space that has been a second family home in many ways for 40 years. Lenard says, “We’re looking forward to the future and acknowledge that change is constant in the Insurance Business. You have to welcome it.”
One thing that won’t ever change is the impact that this family business has had on the community or their ongoing commitment to the people they serve. The family is excited to be part of the ‘new Binbrook’ with their brand-new office facility and is optimistic about the company’s future.