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it is important to make accurate assessments of inventory and equipment

Meet Your Broker - Pete Harrison

AUTHOR: Newman Insurance | September 7, 2017
CATEGORY: Meet Your Broker, Commercial Insurance, 

My name is Pete Harrison and I've been with Newman Insurance for just over five years. I was born in Toronto and grew up in Brampton.

I have worked in the insurance industry since completing university. I started with Guardian Insurance in 1990 and have worked for a few other insurance companies throughout my career. I worked for twenty years on the insurance company side and then switched to the brokerage side with Newman Insurance.


My area of specialty is commercial insurance. What I like most about commercial insurance is that every risk is different. Even the same risk is different. For instance, if you talk to two restaurant owners you may get two completely different stories and two completely different operations, yet they are running the same operation in terms of type of business.

There is potential for a lot of variety with commercial policies as no two risks are the same. By comparison, if you write an auto policy it is the same auto policy no matter who you are writing it with, as it is regulated by the government.

With commercial policies, the focus is more needs-based. It is important to make sure you are picking up the exposures and understand what your client is doing. A good example would be garage auto policies. There are many types of policies available. For instance there are repair garages; repair garages with used car sales; garages that repair motorcycles and ATV’s. It is important that the operations are clarified to make sure proper coverage is applied, since many businesses are doing something that doesn’t fit “inside the box”.


The one thing that most people don't know about commercial insurance that they probably should know is that it is important to make accurate assessments of inventory and equipment in terms of replacement value. Without that you may not be choosing an appropriate coverage amount to insure. Clients should be aware that most insurance policies tend to have a clause that says, "May limit the amount payable." Many people may put an estimate on the value of their equipment and inventory, however if something were to happen to it, the replacement value is based on what it costs to buy brand new. Quite often people will underestimate that.

If there is a fire and the policy carries a clause saying you are supposed to insure to the limit of what your contents/equipment would cost to replace brand new (yet you have underestimated that amount), then you won't get the full replacement value. The payout will be based on the limits you have insured too. If it is the first time the client makes a claim and they end up getting less than what they think they should get, this can be very disappointing for someone who has been in operation for two or even twenty years. They may think, "Why did they bother buying this coverage?" Whereas if we made sure they had proper limits, they would get the appropriate payout. Making sure coverages are adequate and reviewing those coverages periodically is extremely important, since I think most people just renew every year and don't put any serious thought into it. Let's be honest, for a lot of people insurance is not something they think of during their daily routine. It is a cost they incur annually and they don't really see the benefit of it until they have to make a claim. It is our job to guide them through this to make the best coverage choices that fits their individual needs.

One other misconception that people might have about commercial insurance is that “everything is covered”. With commercial policies we don't tend to refer to them as "all risk," we say "broad form" so there is less chance of giving the impression that everything is covered.


I appreciate Calvin, who, as a business owner, does not come across as your elusive CEO who is above you. He is a down to earth owner who is approachable. Also, I like the atmosphere in general at Newman Insurance. When I was looking for an opportunity on the broker side, Newman was one of the few brokers that I wanted to talk to - mainly because of the integrity of the operation and the employees. I had dealt with them in a previous role and knew the brokerage well.


Having an understanding of the entire industry and being able to use that knowledge for your clients helps a lot, especially if you are able to explain the differences in policies from one company to another. A couple of clients I have recently had are restaurant owners and I moved them from one company to another upon renewal. This was due to pricing and what the company was providing for coverage. I was able to explain why the first company priced their coverage the way they did; then I was able to say, "As a broker, we have other options, here is another option that I feel suits you better." Being able to understand how the entire industry operates helps me find the best solutions for our clients.


From a sports standpoint, I enjoy cycling and skiing. Both my wife and I are trying to be more active, whether it is going to the gym or doing some sports activities. We are trying to be more active.

In terms of sports I might watch: I'm a Leafs fan, but being relatively new to Ottawa, I'm taking more of an interest in the Senators. If asked I’d say, "I cheer for the Senators on every game, except when they play the Leafs.” Also, it has been great to see the Jays become relevant again. Surprisingly (and because my wife got us started on it), we are following curling. That is primarily because we joined a “Learn-To” curling league and have been doing a little bit of that. My wife seems to enjoy attending curling events and watching some of the games, so we've done a little bit of that as well.

As to my favorite meal, that would be traditional: the perfect steak. I like it closer to rare than medium-rare, with a twice-baked potato and a nice Caesar or something of that nature. We probably go to the Keg a couple times a year, because of its consistency.


If I could choose a superpower I think I'd like to be invisible.

My personal kryptonite would be sweets or chocolate bars.

If your claim is not of an urgent nature, we recommend that you speak with your Account Manager during regular office hours.

Claims emergency? click here

For non-urgent claims, we recommend speaking with your Account Manager during office hours.

Claims emergency? click here