Vivian Maluga is a Commercial Lines Customer Service Representative as well as the Team Leader at D.I.S. Financial Group. Vivian is one of a small team of brokers who manages the needs of our commercial lines clients, using her many years of experience to identify risk and advise clients’ business portfolios.
Jessica Vreugdenhil, Marketing Manger: Welcome! Thanks for introducing yourself, Vivian. Let’s get started: What’s a typical day for you here?
Vivian Maluga, Commercial Lines CSR: Well, it’s many things: fielding phone calls from commercial clients, following up with the team to make sure things are on track, helping out in Personal Lines when a team member is off, processing renewals….
Jessica: …we joke here about how many hats you wear here!
Vivian: Yes! I wear several different hats – at different times of the day!
Jessica: So, no two days are the same.
Vivian: Never. Always busy!
Jessica: How did you start out as a broker? I know you’ve been here many years…
Vivian: Well when I went back to work after having my son 31 years ago, I was a receptionist in a brokers office. I was encouraged by the principle of that brokers office, who said that I was a good candidate to get my license and become an insurance broker. So that’s how I got into the insurance industry!
Jessica: What do you enjoy the most about working in insurance?
Vivian: I think what I enjoy the most is helping people out – helping them understand their insurance policies, why they need insurance, and just to give them advice.
Jessica: For sure. It’s rewarding to be there for clients – for the good times, as well as to support them during the challenging times.
Vivian: You really do start to develop a rapport. They like to call in and chat, and know that I won’t rush them or give them incorrect information.
Jessica: Which is so important. There’s a lot on the line for commercial clients because their livelihoods are involved when they’re speaking with you about their insurance policies.
Vivian: Definitely. And they don’t always understand their policy – or the kinds of coverages they need. They don’t think of different scenarios that could happen that they need coverage for.
Jessica: On a related note: Most people are familiar with home and auto insurance and what that entails for their personal coverage, but how different is it being a broker for commercial clients? Is there an added level of risk knowledge that you need? You mentioned before that your role was to identify these areas for our clients.
Vivian: Well for example, someone who’s self-employed in their business needs to consider things like business interruption insurance. In case there is a time when the business can’t be operated because of a claim – there’s profits coverage that they can get.
Jessica: We certainly see that during things like flooding and fire – even just recently during the fire in downtown Whitby a couple years ago. You spoke about how important it is to cover more than just physical equipment, but also the time it takes for a business to re-open.
Vivian: And sometimes it can take quite a while before rebuilding can begin! Another type of coverage that’s important for some of our clients is pollution liability. They don’t think what could happen in the event that a tank that’s on their property could leak.
Jessica: Wow! Certainly, pollution insurance isn’t one of those things you hear people talking a lot about. But climate and the environment is such an important subject these days.
Vivian: One more thing I’ll add, is that businesses should be aware of their cyber risks. There is coverage that protects businesses from cyber attacks. Of course, prevention is always key. Know your exposures, and mitigate any risks you might have. The first line of defence against cyber threats is a well-trained workforce.
Jessica: So what’s the one thing you’d like to leave with business owners or entrepreneurs who might be reading this?
Vivian: Always review your policy with your broker! On every renewal, too. There are so many changes that are happening in the insurance industry. There’s changes happening in their own operations! These things will have an impact on your coverage.
Jessica: That’s excellent advice! I’ll also add that everyone here is so willing to have a conversation. It doesn’t imply that you’ll be held to whatever you’re inquiring about. We’re more than happy to just answer questions. Call us! Also – we have coffee.
Okay, my last question: What’s your favourite thing about living and working in Durham Region?
Vivian: Oh! That’s a good question. I love working close to home, and not having a long commute. And just being able to live and work in my own community. It’s a great feeling.
If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, and would like to chat with Vivian about any of the things discussed here, please call or email. We’re here to help!
Keep following for more ‘Meet the Team’ features, and for helpful advice on all things insurance.