Cove Year End Update Letter
Every year, Luciana comes into my office and lets me know it’s time to put our year-end letter together and review some of the important things that happened around here throughout the course of the year. Like previous years, I am amazed at how much changes and yet how much remains the same. The holiday season is like the annual bell that goes off to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, and with that comes a time to reflect on events gone by. My realization of the speed of change was driven home when I watched a short two-minute video by New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern in which she outlined the accomplishments of her government over the first two years of being in office. It was astounding and gave me inspiration to get things done. If you are so inclined, you can find her video on YouTube, and you will see what I mean.
One of my highlights for 2019 was that Christie, Warren, and I came together as an ownership and management team to find our stride in managing Cove. It is well-known that running a business with family members presents unique challenges, and I am proud of how all three of us developed our navigation skills on that front. Part of my learning was relinquishing the feeling that Cove and I were one identity and that Cove is no longer just about Bernie (go figure). The funny thing is that, as a business owner or professional, we spend years trying to make a name for ourselves…only to find that it is better if we build the brand around so much more than one individual. We may just turn into a multi-generation family enterprise, as our daughter Nikki explores becoming an insurance advisor, which is exciting news not just for me and Christie, but also for Warren, as he plans for Cove’s future beyond Christie and myself.
Part of the process of re-positioning our thinking around who we are as a company and why we’re in business was facilitated by the three of us attending a coaching program, Growth For Good by Transformation Catalyst. Yes, the program content was important, but I think we got the greatest benefit from realizing that working through the planning and thinking as a team, rather than as three individuals, had a huge impact. Through that process, we revisited our Purpose, refined our Mission, and developed our Vision. All three came together, creating a clarity for us that we had not had before. Everything pointed to our key commitments: transparency and accountability, both to ourselves and to our entire community of stakeholders.
To bring our Purpose, Mission, and Vision to life, we developed statements to reflect our values. We’re excited to display these on the new wall mural we created for our office entrance. The mural is a huge photo of one of our favourite paths on Mt. Seymour, overlaid with the following defining statements:
OUR PURPOSE Lead a fundamental shift from unconscious entrepreneurialism to enlightened continuity
OUR VISION All Canadians own and value life insurance
OUR MISSION Create Space to Breathe by building the best plans, delivering the best products, being accountable and transparent, and using business as a force for good.
We are excited about expressing these values as Cove grows into the seven-generation company we hope to build.
2019 Cove Highlights
Best For The World: Workers
For the third year in a row, Cove was awarded Best for the World: Workers by B Lab, the non-profit third-party certifier of all B Corp globally. B Lab compares the scores of all B Corps worldwide and awards top 10% of scores in 5 categories of Best For The World: 1) Overall 2) Community 3) Governance 4) Workers 5) Environment. We are proud to receive the recognition and are inspired to do more.
On May 17, 2019, Benefit Company legislation was passed in the BC legislature to make BC the first jurisdiction in the British Commonwealth to pass such legislation. This is also the first legislation in the country to “formally provide a legal framework for businesses committed to pursuing social and environmental goals to incorporate as benefit companies under the Business Corporations Act.” (Media Release, May 15, 2019). It was also the first private member’s bill tabled by an opposition party to pass into law in the history of British Columbia and it was passed unanimously. Dr. Andrew Weaver was the opposition leader that drove the legislation forward. This legislation paves the way for the other provinces and Canada to follow. The BC legislation was well thought out and drafted, making it, as one expert called it, “the gold standard” for Benefit Corporation legislation in the world that has already been passed in 35 US states and two other countries. For more information on the Benefit Company legislation, you can see our blog post here.
(Christie here, briefly interrupting Bernie’s letter to tell you about the Policy Champion Award that Bernie was awarded as a result of successfully stick handling the Benefit Company legislation. He’s too modest to mention it himself, but we’re quite proud of him around the office.
Back in September, B Lab International awarded Bernie with the Policy Champion Award, which recognizes individuals who have most helped advance policy initiatives to pass Benefit Corporation legislation. He received this award for, in the words of his peers, “single handedly driving legislation forward in British Columbia, Canada, to make this province the first in Canada to have accepted Benefit Corp. Without Bernie’s persistence and connections, we would not have a benefit company statute in Canada.”)
In December 2016, Cove became the first insurance company in Canada to become B Corp certified (this is different from the Benefit Corporation legislation). The good thing about B Corp certification is that it is not a one and done exercise. It requires companies to re-certify every three years to make sure that they are performing to the standards set by B Lab. We are proud to announce we have completed the B Corp re-certification process and increased our score from 83.5 to 89, with 80 being the threshold for certification. We look forward to continue to improve. See details here.
Our Impact Advisory division had a great year. Our team demonstrated that there is a definite demand for corporate planning that leads to B Corp certification or simply in the direction of increasing corporate impact. An experiment that started in September 2017 has evolved to the point that the division will be rolled out of Cove into a separate company, effective January 2, 2020. That means myself, Christie, Warren, Brent, Luciana, Andrea, and co. will return 100% of their energy back to our core services of insurance and continuity planning. We wish Kristy and Brianna the best of luck in moving the new company forward!
Cove continues to support environmental charities through our affiliations with 1% For The Planet. We became the first Canadian corporate sponsor of 1% For The Planet Global Conference, which was held in Portland, Oregon, this year. Check out the highlights video here. We decided to split all our funds between the 1% For The Planet organization, the North Shore Stream Keepers, who are restoring salmon spawning habitat at the mouth of Mosquito Creek in North Vancouver and Ecojustice to support the various environmental law suits they are engaged in. One of the wins was preventing the development of a ski area in the pristine area of BC called Jumbo Wild. The battle has raged for over twenty years and I think, finally, it was won. It’s an amazing virgin habitat for grizzly bears and hopefully will never be touched.
1% For People
Christie and I, on behalf of Cove, continued supporting Truth and Reconciliation action by co-founding a new society called the Kileepi Piseesi Reconciliation Society. The society was formed to bring together businesses, students, educators, and First Nation community members to do “reconciliaction” (a blend between “reconciliation” and “action”) projects on First Nation lands. These projects consist of hands-on work on reserve land, where students share in the rich culture of our First Peoples, learning the truth about our history while engaging in constructive work projects that positively impact the communities in which they are hosted. The KPRS engages in fundraising and project coordination. There are three projects on the radar for 2020 plus the inaugural KPRS Cove Fun 5km and Walk on April 26, which we are all very excited about.
The aim of our 1% For People fund is to direct 1% of our top-line revenue into local communities as a combination of personal engagement and project funding. We believe that if we want to save the planet, we must also work to increase the inclusion and diversity within our community.
2019 Team Highlights
This has been a year of firsts:
- 1st child to move away from home
- 1st niece to get married
- 1st complete year as an owner of Cove
- 1st child to express an interest in entering our business
- 1st staycation with our Costa Rican family that was one of the best vacations ever
- 1st realization that I want to be a grandmother
It has been a year of growth and a year of firsts. I am so proud of our oldest son for finding his way in the world, finding his dream job, and going out on his own. It’s always a special time to be with family for a wedding and what joy it was to celebrate my niece’s marriage! It was a special occasion and a realization that we are entering a new phase of our lives.
One of the highlights of our year was the visit from Travis, Pilar, Maya, and Clea from Bodhi Surf and Yoga in Costa Rica. Our city and area are majestic and to see them through visitors’ eyes is magical. From hiking Mt. Seymour and running the North Shore trails to Whistler bike rides and dance parties with the girls at Point Roberts, this visit was such a special time for Bernie and me to connect with a beautiful young family. We have come to love and value our Costa Rican friends and look forward to more adventures with them.
This has been my second year as co-owner of Cove, which saw some great growth in how we all work together. From business planning and company responsibilities to case management and client communications, it’s been enjoyable to work with Bernie, Christie, and the team to create a solid foundation for decades of future success. Continued collaboration with other advisors has been part of that growth. Through this joint work, we’re able to offer everyone best-in-class services within a team environment. With the growth of Cove and advisor collaboration, great things are in sight.
The Campbell family household was full of activity in 2019, too, with both our girls (Chelsea and Jordan) in school, tennis, and soccer. We also welcomed two new members to the family: Tyler and Ferguson, two grey tabby cat brothers who came to us from a wonderful family in Lynn Valley. Our spring break family vacation took us to Maui, with the highlight of the trip being the snorkel tour to Molikini crater. It was the coolest day of the trip, but we still had lots of fun. The year ended on a high note with a trip to Florida—lots of tennis and sun!
My husband, BrentJ, and I have a bucket list, and this year, we checked off the stunning Patagonia. We have been talking about this for years, and what an experience to have this dream come true! I was born in Chile, but I’ve been living in both Spain and Canada (mostly Canada) for a long time. I was due to go back “home” and discover the south of Chile. Patagonia a magical, breathtaking place with its pristine unique pique formations called Torres Del Paine, which we walked and drove around. We saw a grey glacier up close from a catamaran tour, and driving from place to place felt like a safari as we saw guanacos (llamas), bright pink flamingos, a puma family of six crossing in front of us, and rheas (similar to ostriches). Our last tour was the Magallanes Straight boat tour to visit Magdalena Island, where only penguins live. Patagonia is a natural world with minimum human touch. We also visited the volcano lake district north of Patagonia, where we experienced a magnitude 5.3 earthquake and spent the last three days on the hot coast with wild pacific waves. We were blessed!
A highlight for our family in 2019 was a trip we took in March. Myself, my husband, and two of our kids travelled to China to visit our two sons who went to Wudangshan to learn and practice the art of Kung Fu, the Daoist culture, and meditation. We were able to visit them at their school and hike with their teacher and a few fellow students to watch the sun rise over Mt. Wudangshan, which—hands down!—will be on our books as one of the most amazing experiences ever. Although hiking the Great Wall of China might have tied it! After a week in China, the six of us flew to Thailand, where we travelled together for two weeks. We started in the north and made our way south, experiencing many of the beautiful things Thailand has to offer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us, and we were so thankful to have had that time with our family.
2019 was a very successful year for me and my family. My goals last January were both personal and business related and, for the most part, were attained as of December this year. My personal goals centred around health and happiness, including regular exercise outside in the fresh air of North Vancouver, as well as at the gym. I also committed to better eating, in terms of adding to my plant-based focused diet, as well as maintaining a daily meditation routine and improving my sleep. Two good holidays this year were also on the list (we managed three). The only goal where I feel a little short is in the sleep area—something to focus on this year!
In terms of business successes, my goals were to continue to improve my understanding of insurance, insurance planning, and how it all impacts businesses. I also wanted to see some customer referrals as a sign we are successfully communicating the value of Cove’s business model to our prospective clients. Overall, results were positive in all areas, and some significant referral partners are now including Cove as a part of their planning process to everyone’s mutual gain. My focus in 2020 is to help set up a structure that will be successful for the future.
At home, all three kids discovered their passions, business-wise, and they are all challenging themselves and becoming better people in the process. They are all on the right path and figuring out what life is about and what really matters to them, both personally and professionally. I’m a very lucky person!
We are excited about the future. There are many opportunities that we can embrace and many challenges that we can face head on. Since having learned about the process of driving change through the Benefit Company legislation initiative, I am inspired to have a positive impact on our industry and business community. Two things that we will set our sights on to achieve in the coming year and beyond are: 1. reform the insurance industry’s broken disclosure and transparency regulations and 2. facilitate the engagement of family enterprises to help solve the social and environmental crises we all face. I have a plan, so stay tuned as we move these two initiatives forward. Success will benefit all our clients and partners.
On behalf of our whole crew here at Cove, we send you best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous and healthy new year.