Banks’ last frontier: Insurance

Ken Orr is not, in the main, a scary-looking dude. Bearded and bearlike, the 55-year-old insurance broker has the confidently convivial manner of a small-town businessman for whom the jagged line between customer and neighbour has long been smoothed down by years of Lions Club events, kids’ hockey tournaments and Canada Day barbecues.

Orr & Associates, the firm Orr’s father, Gord, started in the 1920s, is sandwiched between a beer store and a drugstore in an unprepossessing mall in Schomberg, an hour’s drive northwest of Toronto. He has 17 employees, plenty of referral business and “lots and lots” of second- and even third-generation clients. “They’re the best,” Orr says, smiling broadly.