A Family Matter

Siblings Cindy and Doug Barnett are the third generation of Barnetts to take charge of the family insurance business.

The brother-and-sister team behind DPM Insurance Group is proving that family bonds can be the basis for corporate excellence

A strong family relationship, coupled with sincere passion for customer satisfaction, has enabled DPM Insurance Group to become a top commercial enterprise in the Ontario region. “The original company was established by our grandmother, in 1966, soon after the death of our grandfather,” recalls Cindy Barnett who, along with her brother Doug, is one of DPM’s principal owners. “After his passing, she said that she was determined to do something with her life.”

That “something” has evolved into one of the leading insurance brokerages in Southwestern Ontario. DPM specializes in personal lines of insurance from Canada’s top carriers. It offers coverage for everything from automobiles to business property to casualty policies. Recently, DPM expanded its product line to include life insurance and financial services. Not surprisingly, family connections are key to the firm’s success.

“Cindy and I work very well together, ” Doug says. “We have no hidden agendas. For instance, if I have an idea and Cindy is doubtful about its effectiveness, she isn’t hesitant to voice her thoughts. The same holds true when I have an opinion.”

The brother-and-sister team also feature complementary strengths. “I enjoy organizing and working on office systems with our staff,” Cindy says. “Doug likes being in the community,
meeting with clients and businesses, and making our presence
known to the public.”

This family dynamic has provided DPM with a unique competitive advantage. As Doug and Cindy work together so often, they have developed a keen insight into the importance of building relationships. “Consequently, we’ve been able to translate that understanding into developing effective, working relationships with our clients,” Cindy says.

“The respect that Cindy and I have for each other, the willingness to listen and then respond positively to thoughts and ideas—we carry that out in our day-to-day interaction with customers,” Doug says.

This approach lies at the heart of DPM’s commitment to creating an exceptional customer experience. “We’re a personal service business,” Cindy says. “We provide the best-possible coverage for our clients, and, in return, our customers honour us with their patronage.”

At the heart of this service concept is making client-provider transactions easy, convenient, and effective. “It’s all about being where the customer wants to be in the process,” Cindy says. “If a client doesn’t want to deal with paper documents, we offer them e-statements instead. If they prefer to reach us by the Internet or social media, we’re more than happy to accommodate them.”

“We are focused on enabling our customers to feel valued as opposed to just completing an ordinary transaction,” Doug says.

This operational ethic extends throughout the DPM organization. Doug and Cindy make sure to value every member of their staff. By catering to each employee’s specialty, the duo catalyzes a sound working environment for the benefit of the client.

Cost effectiveness also has an important impact on customer service. For this reason, DPM has fostered a cooperative relationship with several smaller brokerages to increase purchasing power. “We can go to computer distributors and, because we are part of a consortium of five insurance firms, obtain better pricing on equipment,” Cindy says. The resulting savings have helped DPM to be even more competitive.

Getting the good word out on DPM’s product offerings has taken on greater significance in Canada’s highly competitive insurance market. Like any company, DPM has to assure everyone is familiar with its brand. To that end, DPM launched its own Facebook page, in late 2011, which has extended its community-outreach efforts.

Both Cindy and Doug remain confident that such familiarity will lead to favourable growth for DPM. “Right now, we’re seeking to expand our life-insurance and financial-services components,” Cindy says. “However, we remain committed to providing clients with the same, high-degree of service that they have come to expect and deserve from DPM. Doug and I are very grateful for our business and personal good fortune. It has taken hard work … We’re very pleased with the success of DPM Insurance.”