A Chat with Michele Mactaggert, President of Bensol, on Celebrating Two Decades of Service

Since 2004, Michele Mactaggart and the Bensol team have been delivering benefits, wellness solutions, and insurance to SMEs, charities, and non-profit organizations. This includes owner and employee insurance, health and dental benefit plans, and GRSP programs to entrepreneurs of all sizes and in various stages of business.

Interviewer: Let’s start from the beginning. What inspired you to found Bensol in 2004?

Michele: I noticed a significant gap in which many advisors were primarily focused on larger clientele, leaving the small group market underserved. I saw an opportunity to offer these smaller businesses the same quality of service and personal connection that larger companies received. They should get the same level of care and attention – they are the backbone of our economy. And Guelph was the perfect place, given its vibrant small business community.

Interviewer: How has the insurance industry changed over the past 20 years?

Michele: The shift to digital has been the biggest change. Back in the 2000s, everything was paper-based, from booking appointments to processing claims. I don’t know how we ever got things done – I remember getting leads via fax! Now, we have electronic claims and mobile apps, making communication faster and more efficient. Virtual meetings have also been a game-changer, reducing the need for time-consuming in-person meetings, particularly staff meetings.

Interviewer: How has Bensol evolved in its products and services since its inception?

Michele: We’ve expanded significantly. We introduced the health care spending accounts for clients to top up in their coverage. Group RRSPs have become more popular, offering an attractive benefit for small businesses. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have also seen a rise, especially since the pandemic, providing much-needed support to employees.

Interviewer: Are there any achievements that stand out as defining moments for Bensol?

Michele: Definitely. In 2012, we became an advisor for the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan.  At the time our territory consisted of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and has since expanded to Centre Wellington and Milton Chambers of Commerce. Serving on the Board of the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington was another proud moment, emphasizing the importance of community support and giving back. And for our 20th anniversary, our team participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer with a goal to raise $20,000 (which we surpassed thanks to our donors!).

Interviewer: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey?

Michele: Watching our team grow has been incredibly rewarding. Bensol is a fantastic group of people who get excited about insurance. Giving them new opportunities, and seeing them develop and succeed is truly fulfilling. Janet has been with us for over nine years, Raven (2 years), Aiden  (1.5 years) and Victoria is our newest team member, each bringing diverse experiences and perspectives to the table.

Interviewer: Can you share a memorable client story?

Michele: One client who had left us for another provider recently came back, saying we were the only advisor he truly trusted. That felt wonderful. Another touching moment was helping a client navigate claims after losing their spouse: it’s in difficult times like these, when our help and understanding are most needed, that we’re there for our clients.

Interviewer: What values have been most important to Bensol’s success?

Michele: Integrity and client focus. It’s essential to walk away from deals that aren’t in everyone’s best interests. Listening to our clients and being honest about what we can provide is crucial. And building confidence and trust, and establishing real connections with our clients has always been at the core of our approach.

Interviewer: What plans do you have as you start your third decade in business?

Michele: Continuing to bring on talented staff and working together as a cohesive team. Small businesses evolve quickly and things are always changing, but we’re committed to a positive outlook, and always call each new year our ‘best year ever’.

Interviewer: Is there a message you’d like to share with your clients and staff on this occasion?

Michele: A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all our clients. We truly appreciate their trust in us, and trusting in Bensol for their health and wellness needs. Here’s to many more years of success together!