It was 40 years ago that a small group of educators used the basement of St. Louis School in Waterloo as an office, to sell long term disability and life insurance to teacher groups in Ontario. They strongly believed the insurance needs of Ontario’s education workers would be better served by a not-for-profit insurance advocate dedicated to supporting their community. The five teaching affiliates, at the time, made their venture official and joined together to form the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP). Today, as OTIP celebrates 40 years of service, that vision holds true in everything we do.
Referencing the timeline image below, take a journey with us, back through time, as we review the company’s evolution and some highlights of the last forty years.
In the 80s, OTIP’s offering expanded to include property and casualty insurance products to its members. This business grew slowly through a series of acquisitions and partnerships.
We launched the Retired Teachers Insurance Plan (RTIP) in 1989 to about 200 members and also hosted our inaugural OTIP Charity Golf Classic. We are proud to say that we now insure more than 63,000 retired educators and their families, and have raised over $1.7 million dollars for charity to date!
OTIP was incorporated in the early 90s, enabling us to own property, as we needed to find a larger building to accommodate the growth. Twenty years later, we are still in the same building that houses our head office!
“This is also about the time I started at OTIP,” Chris Floyd, President of Individual Insurance Services, shared. “In October 1994, we were our own insurance company, called OTIP/RAEO Insurance Company Inc. It was a partnership with Prudential of America, and it was a licensed property and casualty insurer. Prudential owned 90% and OTIP owned 10%. That December, Prudential gave us notice--they were pulling out of Canada. We had two months to find a new underwriter.” He commented, “Since then, we have been fortunate to have partnered with carriers that have been strong and enduring. This still stands true in everything that we do today--not only with business partnerships, but right down to the member level. This includes delivering coffee to the picket lines during the provincial teachers strike in 1998, or marching with teachers in Hamilton this past March.”
This has always been the OTIP way. There truly is no one else who understands educators the way we do, and we have proven it time and time again over the course of the past 40 years.
In the new millennium, several exciting changes happened, including expanding our business through the creation of new companies.
In 2006, there was the creation of TW Insurance and the acquisition of Willis Canada. TW Insurance continues to provide personal lines brokerage to members in Ontario and Alberta.
Two years later, we reached another important milestone when Curo Claims Services Inc. was federally incorporated. Curo was established to meet the regulatory requirements of the Insurance Act and provide quality claims service to members. And, the OTIP Community Fund was founded to support the charitable programs that matter most to our members.
“The last seven years, while seemly a short period of time in comparison to the three decades before it, have been without question the most exciting, yet challenging period for OTIP,” Vic Medland, Chief Executive Officer, OTIP, stated. “I was appointed as CEO in 2012. Having been with OTIP for 15 years, I was given the opportunity to lead this incredible organization forward, into a period of growth unlike anything we had experienced before. The past few years have also seen us tested in ways we could not have imagined back in the basement of St. Louis School all those years ago. The Bow and Elbow Rivers in Alberta crested their banks and caused major flooding in Calgary in 2013. Three years later, our ability to respond to our members in times of crisis was tested yet again with the massive wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta,” Vic said.
We embarked on our digital project in 2015, embracing innovation as a way forward for our business and members. It was also the year OTIP was named the third-party administrator for four new provincial health, dental and life plans. Over the last two years, approximately 150,000 members were enrolled in the new provincial benefits plans. “An implementation of this magnitude comes not only with its challenges and complexity, but it has also strengthened and deepened our knowledge, understanding and commitment to members of the education community,” noted Kirk McIntyre, President of Group Benefits Services.
Providing long term disability (LTD) insurance to members of the education community remains the foundation of our business. This is why OTIP was created, and it is a big part of what we continue to do today. Kirk commented, “We have always been more than just an administrator of LTD insurance. Offering services like CAREpath, FeelingBetterNow®, Early Intervention, LTD services and our appeals process, we continue to provide value to our members that go above and beyond any other insurance provider.” In addition to products and services, OTIP has established charitable initiatives to support the ongoing success of educators and their students, member health and social improvement endeavours including: OTIP Teaching Awards, bursaries, school project sponsorship and corporate donations.
Forty years of doing what we do best--serving the education community. We are very honoured to have served you and look forward to serving you for many more years to come.
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