2023 Underwriters of the Year | Mark Hoyte, Senior Commercial New Business Underwriter, Northbridge

2023 Underwriters of the Year | Mark Hoyte, Senior Commercial New Business Underwriter, Northbridge

Mark Hoyte’s insurance career began in 1989 in the mail room at Continental Insurance (now Northbridge General Insurance). He is a dedicated, accomplished underwriter with more than three decades of risk management expertise.  

Hoyte is known for his keen attention to detail and trusted by brokers for his out-of-the-box advice and commitment to helping people navigate the complex world of insurance. Hoyte’s dedication and compassion are evident in his professional and personal life — from starting his own charity and serving as a community organizer/fundraiser in Barbados to coaching youth soccer. 

When he first started in the insurance mail room all those years ago, Hoyte quickly learned about underwriting and knew it was the career path for him. “Commercial underwriting gives such a variety of knowledge and the ability to think outside the box — you never know what could land on your desk on any given day, so it creates the challenge that drives me.” 

That’s why he was honoured to hear he’d been nominated for the award by Acera Insurance, a member of the Canadian Broker Network, Canada’s largest network of independent brokers. “It’s a privilege to be recognized by my peers, but even more special when it’s for performing well in my career.” 

Q: What is the biggest challenge for underwriters, and how can underwriters or insurers overcome this?

“As we service more and more brokerages, it can be challenging to provide the same level of customer service and individual rapport with each individual broker. Service excellence and building strong relationships with our clients are always the goal, and underwriters are navigating balancing growth with maintaining solid relationships. Great communication is essential. Throughout my career, I’ve found that the more we speak to each other, the better it allows us to properly understand our clients as business partners and people alike. In addition, knowledge of current market conditions and the ability to educate your brokers about why you’ve made a particular decision are key.” 

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Q: What is one opportunity underwriters should focus more on?

“Creating your own identity. You have to become what you are selling and have the patience with others to help them understand. The industry has evolved tremendously over time, but the principles of thinking and communicating have not changed — and these need to be present in our everyday job.” 

Q: What makes for a great underwriter-broker relationship?

I can’t stress enough how important communication is. Emails are great for communicating some information, but a face-to-face or phone conversation helps solve problems and build relationships. It lies in really getting to know one another as people first — which goes a long way when working through problems together.”