A full service broker for almost 30 years, ELM Insurance has evolved as a partner to many construction industry clients. Representing large general contractors and all sizes of sub trades, the company applies its expertise and experience, develops relationships, and simplifies the complexities of the industry.
President Lou Civichino formed ELM in 1989 after more than 10 years in the insurance industry and exposure to a wide variety of areas. “At the time, I was managing six independent branches and a staff of more than 75 professionals and my CEO suggested I open my own brokerage.”
At the start, many of his old contacts came on board and then came his first foray into construction. “I had an opportunity to speak with a general contractor who needed surety and project specific wrap-up and builders’ risk. We were able to meet their needs and they became our first word of mouth, introducing us to others including subtrades they worked with.”
Part of meeting the client’s needs, says Civichino, meant listening to their discontent with their previous provider and going above and beyond to find a solution that could work better for them. He says being direct and honest with clients and letting them know they have been heard and understood is key. “We have developed an integrated approach to risk, allowing us to eliminate duplication and associated costs.”
That approach allowed ELM to quickly establish itself as a construction specialist. Over time, that reputation has been established by the company’s exposure to and growth within the sector. “We’ve read thousands of contracts over the years and helped clients understand and protect themselves from risk. We know construction and we have solved and stick handled many disputes and claims between owners, subtrades and clients.”
That expertise has proven especially effective, he says, for smaller clients. While larger companies know and understand what they need, he says smaller contractors may need more time, information and education. “Those clients appreciate the knowledge and extra attention we bring to the table.”
With the company’s expansion over time, including the addition of Civichino’s son Matthew, ELM offers a complete range of insurance products and services including operational liability, commercial auto fleets, builder’s risk, director’s and officer’s coverage, pollution insurance, surety, and professional liability. Other offerings include personal home and auto, key man insurance, company benefit packages and pension plans.
“Our clients are busy and they have a lot to think about. Having a full range of services under one roof means they make one call. It means there is consistency in their dealings and expectations and it means they develop a relationship and understanding with our team.”
Civichino says that close connection makes ELM a partner to many clients, an extension of their bidding and risk mitigation department that companies rely on.
ELM’s staff of 23 is streamlined and operationally efficient, Civichino says, but continues to grow, strategically and based on customer needs. “Quality is much more important to us than quantity so we will grow as and how it makes sense in the service of our clients.”
Though the company is primarily focused in Ontario for instance, he says the team has secured licensing in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, in order to serve clients who took on projects in those provinces.
“We know our success is based on the combination of loyal clients, underwriters who support our vision, and our own team of professionals. We are not an island and all three contribute equally to a satisfying and successful relationship.”
He says ELM is a proud member of the Toronto Construction Association, the Surety Association of Canada (SAC) and is a strong supporter of SAC’s Head Start Bond.
For more information, visit http://elm-insurance.com.