Women of Influence: Terri DiFlorioBy Donna Glasgow | August 18 2014 09:00AM
Trust, respect and a dose of good luck
It seems a rare thing that someone comes out of school and plans a career in the insurance industry and Terri DiFlorio, president, Hub Financial Inc. is no exception. “I think like everybody else I got into the industry accidentally.” DiFlorio’s exceptional career as president of one of Canada’s largest MGAs started out in the mailroom of an insurance company in 1986.
“I was friends with someone who got a summer job at Financial Life. They were hiring temporarily. She brought the opportunity to me. My temporary job there was 28 years ago.”
DiFlorio spent 12 years at Financial Life, “By time I left I was vice president of marketing. I had six or seven jobs…I learned a lot of the inside workings of an insurance company which has definitely helped me being in distribution.”
You need to love what you do. You can’t just like it. There is so much time that you spend working and if you’re not passionate about it, you really don’t have a chance of being good at it.
In the fall of 2000 she became president of Hub Financial Inc. and Hub Capital Inc.
At that time Hub had four MGAs across Canada, all owned by Hub International but operating completely independently. “I think the guys who were there that were serving as the presidents of each of those operations quickly realized that they had full time jobs running their respective businesses and obviously recognized the benefits of becoming one company.” She knew all of them through her role as a marketing VP and they approached her to come on board to turn it into one company instead of four independent operations. Now in 2014, the company is about three and half times the size of when she joined. “And, I think probably by all measurements, it is significantly more successful. It’s been a fun ride.”
Asked what she thinks has helped her in her career, she says, “I think I’ve been blessed – hard work mixed with some good luck along the way and I’m a very, very firm believer in the fact that you need to love what you do. You can’t just like it. There is so much time that you spend working and if you’re not passionate about it, you really don’t have a chance of being good at it.”
Not about winning the game
DiFlorio adds that in her case she loves to work with people whom she trusts and respects. “It is really not about winning the game for me. People always say, ‘That’s easy for you to say, your title is president.’ It’s not about that for me. It’s about building a place where people enjoy working, where they can learn a lot, where they can advance in their careers.”
Passion for the industry, for the value of life insurance products, for helping brokers and making sure people have the right insurance carries her through any day-to-day challenges in her role. Unfortunately she has had personal experiences with people that passed away too early and she doesn’t know what their loved ones would have done if they had not had insurance. “When you see the product at work, doing what it’s supposed to do, it’s incredible.”