As the First Nations Insurance Services slides into its fourth decade, Helen Burgess still believes the basics haven’t changed for the business.
Burgess, who steered FNIS for 20 years before relinquishing the general manager duties last summer, says her job as helping to protect people and teaching them to prepare for their future has not wavered in all her years.
“I have tried, we all have tried, to help educate the people on the importance of our services,” says Burgess, who is now in her 21st year with FNIS. “We want people to know it’s not just a deduction off your paycheque … It boils down to education. In that regard, that has been the biggest change.”
Helping people understand the importance of insurance as well as the concept of saving for retirement has always been a priority to First Nations Insurance Services.
Part of that is the strength of FNIS and building relationships with its clients, something that was celebrated last June as the firm held its 30th birthday.
Around 75 people attended the event, held June 8, 2017, at the Saskatoon Inn as part of a two-and-a-half day annual benefits workshop. Former employees, corporate partners, insurance carriers and others got together for an evening of celebration which included a performance by Voices of the North. The party gave FNIS a chance to look back and pay tribute to those who had worked tirelessly to help the business flourish.
For Burgess, it was a chance to say goodbye from her chair as general manager, a position she devoted much of her time and energy to for those 20 years. It was under her leadership that FNIS really began to grow into the successful enterprise it is today.
“I made the decision last spring that I wanted to ease into retirement,” says Burgess, who is still a licensed agent for the company as well as providing assistance where needed.
“(The time) has gone by so quickly. It’s hard to imagine that much time has elapsed.”
However, the focus of helping First Nations boards and their respective organizations has not wavered. Even the FNIS staff has not changed or altered much over the years with many people still working with 20-plus years under the belt. That plays into what Burgess says about the importance of building relationships.
“We care about all our clients.”