Since the 1980s, Lundgren & Young Insurance has been a fixture in the Calgary market and a valued part of the Haysboro community. Jack Lundgren hung his shingle in 1983, cold calling potential clients and tucking handwritten flyers under people’s windshield wipers to drum up business. He slowly built up his client base and in 1985 he expanded through acquisition before meeting Thom and Val Young in 1988. The Youngs had just arrived in Calgary and were looking for opportunities in the field and the partnership proved to be a good one.
The newly renamed firm, Lundgren & Young Insurance, grew from a three-person operation to a team of about 100 as it developed a reputation over the years for providing great service for its growing client base. The Youngs bought Jack Lundgren out of the company in 2000 and then he retired in 2014, and that seemed like a good time for the Youngs to sell their shares in the company to the next generation. Their children, AJ and Robyn Young, ran the company together until AJ left to pursue other interests and Thom and Val bought his shares to once again partner with their daughter.
The early 2010s represented a time of enormous growth for Lundgren & Young, and that growth didn’t allow for adjustments necessary to keep the company strong. This, combined with the challenges in the Alberta auto market at the time, meant that L&Y was looking at reduced market availability for their customers and the Youngs knew they had to make some changes.
“We had a lot of rapid growth in the 2010s, but it wasn’t smart growth,” says Robyn Young, president and CEO of Excel & Y Insurance. “We were a good-sized brokerage that was down to three insurance markets. It made it very challenging for us to provide choice to our customers.”
The team at L&Y made significant operational changes to address the issues encountered due to the growth, and Young began looking at opportunities that would allow her to grow the business optimally while continuing to provide an excellent customer experience to existing customers. Through her board work with the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta & Canada (IBAA & IBAC), she had developed a relationship with Scott Treasure, a founding partner in the Excel Insurance Group – a group of like-minded independent brokers who partnered together to leverage market relationships and brokerage operations in 2014. The model and the values of the Group aligned with the Young family’s own, allowing them to both increase market access for their customers and remain Independent. The Partnership was a great fit for both.
“It was a group of independent brokers in a true partnership. It was a cluster where everybody still maintains ownership of their own book of business but shares markets and efficiencies,” says Young.
In 2021, Lundgren & Young marked the new partnership by rebranding the company as Excel & Y Insurance; no matter the name, the team of 60 staff and brokers continued to provide the same tailored service to ensure clients received the best commercial, personal or recreational coverage. Being a customer-centric company, the team worked hard to develop strong, enduring relationships with clients so they knew exactly what clients needed and could then adapt their plan to meet those needs. These efforts have paid off, as many of Excel & Y’s clients have been loyal customers for decades and continually refer their friends and family to the firm.
Being an independent firm allowed the team to provide this incredible service, and part of the appeal of joining the Excel Insurance Group was retaining that independence. This is increasingly rare in the Canadian marketplace as more and more, brokerage conglomerates are swallowing up privately owned local brokers, greatly reducing the options for clients. As a truly independent brokerage, Excel & Y ensures that their customers have a choice of markets so they receive the best coverage and rate for all of their insurance needs.
“With us being independent, we’re not beholden to any insurance company or market for anything that we do or offer. When we offer someone a product, it’s truly what we feel is the best product for them and not because the market has some kind of investment in our brokerage; this makes us somewhat unique in our market these days,” she says.
Being part of this network of independent brokerages has facilitated Excel & Y’s focus on growing the right way and being a strong partner for its markets. The company currently focuses on servicing Alberta clients from their offices in Calgary, Camrose and Edmonton but will look to organically expand its service area to fit the needs of its customers.
Any growth in staff, industry partners or service area has to pass through the company’s foundational values to ensure it’s a good fit. From the top down, Excel & Y management and the team working under it adhere to the corporate values of family, authenticity, innovation and integrity; these values reflect the company’s culture, which encourages people to be who they are, to respect their colleagues, partners and customers, to implement technology to improve the customer and broker experience and to always do what’s right. Within this culture, the team feels valued and trusted and in return is dedicated to clients and to the success and growth of the company.
This positive culture has led to great staff retention over the years and helped the team navigate through the tumultuous COVID restrictions. When offices shut down, Excel & Y Insurance responded nimbly, tapping the technology and infrastructure already in place to transition to home-based operations. Now, with all restrictions lifted and many companies returning to in-office work, Excel & Y continues to offer this popular flexible workplace model. Even the CEO doesn’t have an office; instead Young hotels in when she is working from the office and uses a communal desk or workspace. Along with disrupting the historical definition of ‘office’, the company has relaxed the traditional hours and clothing guidelines and instead focuses on the output.
“Now we choose to monitor based on metrics, so if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, then we’re good with that,” says Young. “We have better productivity now than we did before COVID.”
Great productivity translates to higher customer satisfaction which in turn leads to more clients bundling insurance packages with the company. The Excel & Y team has extensive experience and knowledge that ensures clients know exactly what they are getting and not getting with a product or package. After all, they are there to protect their clients, and they take the job seriously. They provide advice, education, advocacy and options for clients so if the worst happens, their clients are covered.
“When there’s a fire or tornado or flood, these things are terrible and tough for a family to go through but 99 per cent of those people are going to be insured for that type of risk. What we do is bring them back to whole and restore them,” she says.
For 40 years, the firm has been that safety net that picks people up after an incident and has the products in place to help them build back again. Their clients build their dreams and Excel & Y Insurance will continue to proudly protect them.
200C 9705 Horton Road SW
Calgary, AB T2V 2X5 | 403-451-4928