Interview with Rob Barros – Winner of the The CBN Excellence in Innovation Leadership Award

Interview with Rob Barros – Winner of the The CBN Excellence in Innovation Leadership Award

We recently interviewed Rob Barros, chief technology officer and chief communications officer at Leibel Insurance Group, on what it takes to lead innovation at an organization.


Tell us about yourself and your role at Leibel Insurance Group.

I have been working in the industry for nearly two decades, and just like many of us, I landed here. I was not particularly seeking it out, but an opportunity arose in claims and I haven’t turned back since. I worked in many areas in insurance from claims, to customer service, to communications and technology. Currently, I am the chief technology officer and chief communications officer at Leibel Insurance Group, where I oversee all technology and marketing initiatives for the organization. The business need for innovation and technology in the brokerage arena is so great, there’s a lot we’ve done, but there’s also a lot more to do.


What are some of your proudest achievements at Leibel?

I am proud of leading the Calgary office expansion for Leibel Insurance Group, headquartered in Edmonton. We also achieved 1200 Google reviews with an average 4.9 star-rating. Recognitions such as this present award and being on Insurance Business Canada Top Ten brokerage list winning the Top Brokerage award and being a Top Insurance Workplace (fewer than 99 employees). Mostly importantly, I am incredibly proud of the amazing team we have built at Leibel.


What strategies do you use to implement new technology at Leibel, and how do you ensure adoption within the organization?

When we look at what technology is required here, we examine what our customers need and what would improve their own experience. Conversely, we also want our tools to streamline workflows and processes for our own brokers and team members. Basically, we look at what can we do now that will have the largest impact on the organization and improve or enhance the employee and customer experience.

When we implement new technology to our team, we really take the time to explain why we’re using this technology, the benefits, and why it’s important to us and the organization. There’s always a bit of fear surrounding technology replacing jobs, but that’s not what we’re trying to do here: we’re trying to increase efficiency so brokers can do what they do best, spend more time helping clients.


What are some of the challenges you’re facing in the industry today?

One of the biggest challenges we’re facing is how direct writers are pushing customers to do everything online without any human intervention, leaving them either over, under or uninsured. As an industry, we really need to come together and educate consumers on the value of brokers and why that matters.


How do you identify priority areas that would benefit from the use of technology?

There’s no secret sauce or magic bullet to identifying priority areas. What we try to do is identify the pain points and how can we make things more efficient. We look at the struggles either on the customer experience side or broker side and try to alleviate them. Sometimes, there are no pain points, but we look at how we can increase the overall experience and efficiency for our clients and the organization.

What advice do you have for other leaders who want to digitize their own brokerages?

Be prepared for change. Technology changes at a whim: there is always someone coming forward with a new platform or coming out with something better. And just because a certain process got you to where you are today, it doesn’t mean it will get you to where you need to be tomorrow.

For more information about Leibel Insurance Group visit: