Chris Hirte & Andrei Belik: Co-founders of YIPT

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Co-founders of Young Insurance Professionals of Toronto (YIPT), Chris Hirte and Andrei Belik, admit to falling into the insurance industry. However, the steady job market and ongoing opportunity to expand their skill set keeps them both rooted.

YIPT: The Networking Solution

Emerging from a personal need, YIPT seeks to establish a Toronto networking hub for young insurance professionals. While seeking potential career prospects, the duo realized that no organization gearing specifically toward young professionals existed within their industry.

Longtime friends, Hirte and Belik, took on the responsibility of improving the community, which represents the “relationship-based industry”.

The organization recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with a social networking event at The Rum Exchange. Sponsored by ServiceMaster Restore, the event exemplified the spirit of YIPT’s mission. Hirte states,

“It’s not only about building connections to earn a better living, it’s about meeting people who you’re ultimately going to rely on, in order to succeed at your day-to-day job”.

YIPT one year anniversary at the Rum Exchange (Photo/YIPT)

YIPT one year anniversary at the Rum Exchange (Photo/YIPT)

Members have the opportunity not only to make connections, but also to develop broader knowledge of the industry and diversify their resume. Taking into consideration various personal approaches to networking, YIPT’s events range from formal functions to seasonal mixers and sports outings.

A Trending Partnership

While sharing the same vision, having different academic backgrounds allows the partners to define their collaborative work relationship as “complementary”.

As a commercial Insurance Broker, with a background in business, Hirte demonstrates strong marketing and branding skills.

(L) Chris Hirte, Executive Director/ Co-founder & (R) Andrei Belik, Director/ Co-founder (Photo/YIPT)

(L) Chris Hirte, Executive Director/ Co-founder & (R) Andrei Belik, Director/ Co-founder (Photo/YIPT)

As a Policy Analyst for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, with a background in public policy, Belik’s experience centers on community relations.

Both use their commitment to YIPT to supplement for the skills that they may not be earning from on the job learning. YIPT’s Ambassador Program provides members with a similar opportunity.

With most members of the insurance industry preparing for retirement, there is a strong need for succession planning. The changing of social norms across generations has led to a more competitive work environment among Millenials. The development of instant gratification and a more mobile lifestyle as norms has resulted in Millenials being less loyal to their place of work.

Other industry trends show a steady increase for women in management roles. Comparable to other business related fields, the insurance industry demonstrates gender equality. While explaining YIPT’s marketing strategy, Belik notes,

“The organization fills a niche in the market and targets what needs young professionals have in the industry. Those needs are the same for both genders because opportunities for advancement exist for both men and women”.

 "Opportunities for advancement exist for both men and women in the Insurance industry" states Belik-Participants at a YIPT's Spring Networking night at Turf Lounge (Photo/YIPT)

“Opportunities for advancement exist for both men and women in the Insurance industry” states Belik-Participants at a YIPT’s Spring Networking night at Turf Lounge (Photo/YIPT)

Building a Community

Although YIPT’s greatest challenge was initial promotion, Hirte and Belik believe in allowing the organization to grow organically and improve by a trial and error process. Continuing to learn what forums work best, YIPT events have included presentations, talkback sessions and time for socializing.

Always welcome to feedback, the team relies on follow-ups, social media and an expanding e-mail list to communicate with their market. Both co-founders understand that it takes time to build a valuable relationship and even longer to build a strong community.

For more information please visit the YIPT website Or attend the upcoming YIPT Winter Social on January 14, 5-8pm at Duke of Devon (66 Wellington St. West) Or follow YIPT on Twitter:@YIPToronto

YIPT Winter Social (Photo/YIPT)

YIPT Winter Social (Photo/YIPT)

Laura is a University of Guelph alumna with an Honors Degree in Theatre Studies. She is interested in attempting to understand and express life through art.