Aboriginal Insurance Services is a leader in the Indigenous insurance market who is committed to delivering the most responsive, client-focused service possible.
AIS is the only 24/7 Indigenous focused MGA with knowledge and expertise to provide the services and support our member communities need to meet both cultural and operational needs. Our head office is located on the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ohsweken, Ontario, and our partner brokers are able to cover communities all of Canada, including those in remote northern locations.
We are also the only company who can offer access not just to insurance services, but on-the ground and in-person face-to-face contact, a full suite of risk management training and educational courses, emergency response services, mould and indoor environmental cleaning (germs, viruses, bugs), empowerment and advocacy for housing authorities, and wealth creation opportunities.
Unlike other insurers, AIS works directly within each community. Our brokers and team members take the time to learn and understand the individual operations within the community, allowing us to custom fit our coverage so nothing is left unprotected.
AIS partner brokers include both Indigenous and non-Indigenous brokerages with significant portfolios and relationships within First Nation, Aboriginal, and Métis communities. We also provide tools and services for local governments to access long term financial growth and self-sustaining wealth options.
Claims handling is done in-house by experienced staff who know and understand the Indigenous insurance and risk management landscape.
AIS programs and services are developed for First Nations, by First Nations.
Protecting our communities should not be a decision given to a faceless website or long distance phone number.
AIS brokers prefer to work through a face-to-face relationship, where inspections, asset valuations, premium calculations, and claims handling are done in person. These brokers are hand-picked for their passion and understanding of the cultural needs within our communities.
AIS partner brokers have access to over 300 insurance companies from around the globe.
Your AIS Team
Randy Sherwin, Chief Executive Officer
Randy holds active positions within both the Indigenous community and the insurance industry. He is an Insurance Committee Member for the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association, an active member of the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses, and a fundraising committee member for the Dreamcatcher Fund.
Leighton Clairmont, Underwriting Program Manager
Shannon Binek, Administrative Manager
SHANNON BINEK is the Administrative Manager for Aboriginal Insurance Services where she oversees the marketing and administrative activities for each project. Shannon has an extensive customer service and retail management background from a variety of industries, which allows her to fluidly jump from project to project while ensuring deadlines and deliverables remain on track. Shannon is the primary liaison between individual team members, partner brokers, Indigenous communities, and insurers, allowing her to cultivate customer and client relationships while maintaining revenue growth. Shannon is also a dedicated supporter of the Hagersville Minor Hockey Association, serving on the board of directors as an executive member since 2010.
William (Bill) Montour, President, Aboriginal Emergency Response Services
BILL MONTOUR has been involved in First Nations politics for the past 30 years at the community, regional and the national level. He served as a Six Nations Councillor and also served six terms as the Chief of Six Nations of the Grand River. Bill also spent 3 years as Chief of Staff at the Assembly of First Nations. In 1994 he was employed for eight years as an executive level employee of Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) across Canada. In 1995, Bill was appointed as Associate Regional Director General for INAC in British Columbia and in September of 1998, he was appointed Regional Director General for the Atlantic Region of INAC for the four provinces. In 2000, Bill returned to Ottawa as the INAC National Director of Housing.
Prior to his political career, Bill spent 25 years in steel construction in Canada and the United States. The training and experience in construction supervision nurtured a special interest in housing and infrastructure for First Nation people and communities. As INAC National Housing Director and the Regional Director positions, Bill has had the opportunity to visit and work with over 400 First Nation communities across Canada. In each of these communities the deplorable housing conditions created an abiding desire to help communities find solutions for safe, healthy and sustainable housing and infrastructure.
Michael Johnston, Director
MICHAEL JOHNSTON is a director of Aboriginal Insurance Services where he works closely with the CEO and markets. Michael helped oversee the development of a solid business plan where he sought to ensure its completion through reporting and communication at the board level.
Michael brings over 16 years of insurance and risk management expertise to the AIS team. In addition to being an AIS Founding Director and Shareholder, Michael is also a member of the AHPA Board of Directors, Dreamcatcher Foundation, a Founding Director of AERS, Founder and Managing Broker for GRIB, and holds list of designations including RIB(O) Principal Broker, CIP and is working towards CRM. Michael’s dedication to success can be seen through his part in creating teams for Fusion, the ECP Program, CRSA, and in growing Grand River Insurance Brokers from a ground-level entry operation to a $7 million book of business.
Michael is fiercely dedicated to his community, taking every opportunity to sponsor and support local initiatives that make a difference. Michael has garnered a respected reputation for the face-to-face, personal touch he brings to meeting the needs of each individual client.
Kent Cook, Director
KENT COOK is a Director of Aboriginal Insurance Services, and the President and Principal Shareholder of Cook & Cooke Insurance Brokers/First Commercial Insurance Brokers. Kent has been in the property insurance field for over 20 years. His knowledge and expertise in the First Nations property and liability field is unparalleled.
Cook & Cooke Insurance Brokers has been in continuous operation in the Western Manitoba region since 1906. The longstanding operation has focused on a mix of residential and commercial business as well as the delivery of numerous provincial and national specialty programs.
First Commercial Brokers Inc., established in 1999, is a joint venture between Cook & Cooke Insurance Brokers and Swampy Cree Tribal Council. The venture was established to create an Indigenous owned entity focused exclusively on First Nations as a class of business. First Commercial Brokers has offices in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The company employs over 15 licensed First Nations and Metis staff.
Malcolm P. Smith, Director
MALCOLM P. SMITH is a Director of Aboriginal Insurance Services. Over the past ten years Malcolm has been involved in all aspects of Indigenous community coverage, business insurance, and risk management while continuing to place a wide variety of commercial insurance for a diverse clientele.
Malcolm officially entered the insurance sector in 1996. In 2009 he joined Jardine Lloyd Thompson where he was seconded to commence and operate the newly incorporated Membertou Insurance Brokers as President and General Manager. In this position he grew Membertou into a $2,000,000 plus premium brokerage that was very profitable for Membertou First Nation.
Malcolm provided hands on risk management and insurance brokering for the 2008 North American Indigenous Games, which included not just the initial bidding process, but on-site risk inspections during the games and post-game recommendations. Malcolm was also deeply involved in the Halifax bid for the 2014 NAIG. Malcolm was a key component in winning the bid for the 2011 Canada Winter Games, where as the appointed insurance broker, he was involved with every aspect of the insurance and risk management for the games.
Malcolm has his CAIB designation, an RHU designation (Registered Health Underwriter) and his Canadian Risk Manager’s designation. In 2012, he and his partner, Ryan Ginnish, launched Thunderbird Commercial Insurance.
Ryan Ginnish, Director
RYAN GINNISH is a Director of Aboriginal Insurance Services. Ryan worked for Membertou Insurance Brokers since May 1, 2011 directly after the completion of his 2nd year of Business Administration at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Waterfront Campus. In 2010 Ryan completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University with a concentration in Mi’kmaq Studies (his own people.) This has been a huge achievement for him since there only two other people from his home community of Membertou in his age group who have achieved this level of education.
Ryan will continue to pursue and update his insurance credentials as they approach. His ultimate goal is to obtain a Level III license. Although this will take a lot of time and commitment, Ryan states that he is ready to and fully capable of making the necessary sacrifices to do so.
Scott A. Smith, Market Development Consultant
SCOTT A. SMITH is the Marketing Development Consultant for Aboriginal Insurance Services. Scott has extensive experience providing commercial insurance and risk management on tough to place accounts.
Scott began his career in 1989 in the underwriting department of a global insurer. In 1993, he moved to the broker side of the insurance world where he gained extensive experience in the design, implementation, and marketing of complicated insurance programs such as construction, heavy manufacturing, and healthcare. Scott also worked with a senior manager to implement a new MGA for First Nations businesses, and helped build a captive facility for a large, well-known automotive client.
Scott also headed the mid-market risk management business for a large Toronto insurance broker where he worked with their global network on outgoing business into Europe and assisted with bringing new programs into Canada to sell in local markets. Scott has also been responsible for brokering deals in Heavy Construction, Structured OCIP and CCIP projects, including hospitals, water treatment plants, the Toronto ROM project, and placement of healthcare and medical malpractice insurance for hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Bill Tzaferis, Risk Control Engineering Consultant
BILL TZAFERIS is a Senior Risk Control Engineering Consultant with more than 35 years’ experience. Presently, he is an independent contractor/consultant for insurers, brokers, and corporations.
After studying Civil Engineering at Ryerson University, he worked for major commercial insurers and engineering companies, including IAO, Zurich Insurance and AIG. Over the years, as a Field Engineer, Risk/Account Consultant and VP, Regional Manager, he conducted site surveys, analysis and evaluations for hazards, exposures and protection. They included various types of risks/operations, throughout Canada, the US and Europe. He produced detailed reports with technical analysis and recommendations for improvements. Further contributions to Risk Control Engineering have included training of consultants, presentations as well as development of manuals and survey report templates.
Mark Horner, Risk Control Consultant
MARK HORNER is the Senior Risk Consultant for Global Risk Consultants (Canada) where he conducts site surveys of commercial and industrial facilities on a consulting basis to prepare loss prevention reports and underwriting reports with detailed loss estimates for insurance purposes. Mark has specialized knowledge of large industrial facilities including mining, minerals and metals processing, oil and gas, chemical and power generation. His occupancies also include, warehousing, manufacturing, food and grain processing, tobacco processing and agriculture. Preform plan review of new construction to identify opportunities for risk improvement in the design stages.
Mark has his Canadian Risk Management Designation (CRM), a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Western Ontario and is currently pursuing his CIP designation.