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Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing: Shop local, including for insurance

This week’s Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing is about Jones and Associates Insurance, a locally owned and family-operated insurance brokerage in Thunder Bay.
Jones and Associates (1 of 1)
(Photo by Ayano Hodouchi-Dempsey)

THUNDER BAY -- Jones and Associates Insurance was founded by Mike Jones in 1984, and his son Jeff Jones started working at the company in 2004. “Since then, we’ve grown from four employees to 20 now,” says Jeff.

Jeff and his sister Jenn Lawr bought the brokerage from their parents in 2015, keeping the business in the family. They have been at their current location on 521 Memorial Avenue since 1991.

About 70 per cent of the company’s business is made up of home and auto insurance, with the rest being commercial insurance. Buying your insurance locally ensures that your money stays in Thunder Bay, Jeff says, and their company also supports local charitable initiatives. Another major benefit of a local brokerage, says Jeff, is that the brokers “have a better understanding of how to insure someone’s business, or their personal [property], because we live and work and play in this community.”

Jeff is proud of the way his company handles claims; unlike many companies that just take down your information and call you back the next day if you have an after-hours claim, his company has staff available to clients at any time of the day or night. “When you report a claim in the middle of the night, you get a licensed broker that lives here, and knows the environment and can help you.”

The brokerage offers online quotes, since many people like to do their research online. The majority of consumers still prefer to talk to a broker before they commit, so Jeff calls the company a “bricks and clicks” model.

Despite all of the disruptions of COVID19-related restrictions, Jones and Associates has not laid off any employees. They are all busy working from home, helping clients navigate savings from insurance companies. Since different companies are offering relief measures in different ways, a bit of research and advocacy by a broker can smooth the way for customers.

“We’ve been working towards a paperless environment the past five years, so we had the technology in place to make the decision very quickly and move our staff to work from home,” Jeff says.