NOVA SCOTIA INSURANCE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
The year was 1959, before the days of computers, email, fax machines, and cell phones. During an Insurance Institute Seminar a small number of women in attendance, started discussing an American organization called the National Association of Insurance Women. After investigating the Industry landscape, they decided to move ahead with such an endeavour locally. These women subsequently became known as the founding members of the Insurance Women’s Club of Halifax and later known as the Nova Scotia Insurance Women’s Association (NSIWA).
To attract new members a notice was sent out to local brokers, adjusters, and insurance companies, for a meeting to be held the first week of April, 1960, with the intention of establishing an organization for women in the insurance industry locally. 20 attendees voted unanimously to go ahead with our plans and thus the Insurance Women’s Club of Halifax became a reality. The first President was elected and our main purpose was broadening the education of our members, new employees coming into the industry and to assist all members to become more responsive to the needs of their employers and themselves.
By 1966 associations had been formed in other cities across Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Saint John, Windsor, and Ottawa) and in 1966 after a conference hosted by The Toronto Association (now known as TIWA) the birth of the Canadian Association of Insurance Women (CAIW), was formed. The purpose of this organization was to give members the opportunity to meet colleagues from across Canada and exchange ideas, programs, and share in education.
In subsequent years, we offered all-day seminars covering a variety of Insurance related topics, introduced an Atlantic Tri-Conference and encouraged our members to take part in Public Speaking with short impromptu speeches at the regular meetings and the introduction of our Public Speaking contest both locally and nationally.
We quickly became a very active association, both within our industry and throughout the community. Promoting educational achievements, NSIWA has awarded a cash prize at the Insurance Institute’s Awards Dinner to the student in Nova Scotia who attained the best results in the Associateship (CIP) exams. We also present a gift to any NSIWA member receiving an Associateship (CIP) or Fellowship (FCIP) degree from the Insurance Institute or an Associateship degree from the Life Management Institute.
Our Association and our Members, have been very generous with their time doing volunteer work with other associations, such as the Cancer Society, Operation Red Nose, the R.C.M.P., Blue Goose and the Brokers Association to name a few. With our Charity of choice being our Cancer Crusade which originated in May, 1997, money for this cause is received through walk-a-thons, donations and proceeds from our Wine & Cheese and Christmas Basket ticket sales.
In 2009, our Association set up a Fellowship Fund to provide financial assistance to N.S.I.W.A. members who qualify and wish to experience a National Convention. As this fund was set up shortly after the untimely passing of one of our very active Life Members, it was decided to name the fund “The Donna Landry Memorial Fellowship Fund.”
Certainly the “founding members” had no wild dreams that 50 years later, we would be observing our 50th anniversary and be stronger than ever. This can only be credited to the dedicated members themselves who have served on the executive and the many committees over the years. Also it could not have been accomplished without the support we have received from the insurance industry. NSIWA is, and has always been, an integral part of our industry and has earned the respect of all who have come in contact with it. Our original motto of “Education, Fellowship and Loyalty” and the expanded new version, “Education, Professional Development & Networking” have served us well.
Excerpt by Gladys Venturini