Burns & Wilcox Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Burns & Wilcox Reviews

Updated 2 April, 2017
87 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.5
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Alan Jay Kaufman
60 Ratings

87 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work/Life Balance-ya what's that (in 7 reviews)

  • Senior management spends too much time doing interviews versus managing the employees (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Terrible work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of the people - particularly the assistant underwriters - are very nice and good to work with. It can be fun if you're young because there are tons of people in their 20s. You can get promoted to underwriter from assistant underwriter relatively quickly if you are competent and stick with it, although the main reason that promotions are available is due to the high turnover.

    Cons

    Below the industry average in pay, time off, and benefits. More hours than is standard - you have to work 8:30-5:30, no flexibility. You don't technically get coffee breaks - most people take them but there are some more senior employees that tell management when they see assistants taking breaks.

    The company tries to foster competition between employees by displaying everyone's numbers at meetings. This creates a very negative work environment.

    There is a general feeling of frustration toward management, which refuses to listen to the concerns of employees. Management is very rigid and unwilling to make necessary changes to adapt to Canadian work environment. Turnover is incredibly high and it's very easy to see why.

    Other companies do not tend to hold experience at Burns & Wilcox in very high regard so many people, upon leaving, have to take a slight demotion.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees. Match other companies in hours, time off, flexibility, pay, and benefits. Stop trying to set your employees at each other.


  2. "A"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good people to work with.

    Cons

    Terrible benefits. Too many American values and very money driven over people.


  3. "If you like being treated like a disposable diaper"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The underwriters and assistants are good hardworking people. Building relationships with others in the insurance industry. Wide range of contracts and exposure.

    Cons

    You will never be good enough and they have no
    problem letting you know. Their strategy is to intimidate, humiliate and bully you until you sink or swim. No HR in a company this size and this company desperately needs a full HR department.

    Advice to Management

    Fire them all!!


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Stay Away"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are an assistant its a good place to gain some knowledge. 2 years is your max!!!!
    For U/W Producers there is an opportunity to make good bonus payments... Not much else, I am afraid

    Cons

    Remember Kindergarden? They speak to team, but its all about a few individuals at the end of the day. It's all about numbers and not about people. American style does not work here!

    Advice to Management

    Get someone who knows how to manage running the place. This is a sales organization. Stop running it on numbers and start running it on relationships. That was everyone has an opportunity.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Unprofessional Work Environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to get training. Many of the people who work there are very nice and helpful. The office is usually pretty clean.

    Cons

    The company tends to focus on frivolities and less on retaining good employees. Many people have quit because of the unprofessional and abusive behaviour of a few employees, who are protected and promoted by weak-willed management.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees professionally and respectfully to earn their loyalty. When you do this, you won't have to wonder why people are leaving.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Stay Away"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Burns & Wilcox (More than a year)

    Pros

    Salary

    This is the only positive item I can appropriately discuss in this section. There really aren't any pros of working here.

    Cons

    - Management
    - Work Life Balance
    - Lack of Products, not competitive

    I haven't worked for someone where many of my colleagues would bash management and talk about how unhappy they are.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Great place to start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Training is great. All licensing, designations, and continuing ed are paid for. KELP/KAMP program participants are eligible for college tuition assistance. There are a lot of very knowledgeable underwriters in the company who are happy to bring along the next generation. Some aren’t, but you can still learn from them. Paperless computer systems – could always be improved, but who’s couldn’t? Generally solid with dual monitors

    Market access is good – large shop on a national scale so most markets can be accessed one way or another.

    Salary + benefits + vacation are in the meat of the bell curve. Unexperienced college grads should expect $40-50k (depends on local branch), two weeks off, and health insurance cost around $150 bi-weekly. Providing a stable and secure job.

    Stable company – 2nd gen family owned, no debt, privately held. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, more stable than a lot of the competition. That being said, if you’re top talent, that doesn’t matter because you will land on your feet anywhere if the stuff hits the fan.

    Overall good place to work for the average. Average pay, average benefits, and average work. If you are a top 25% quartile caliber person, MAKE SURE you work at Burns & Wilcox Brokerage– see below in cons.

    Cons

    First, just a preface: I'm not a bitter employee - just believe that this review should help a person make an informed decision based on all available information. After all, the company will ask you to sign a non-compete agreement, so it's fair to have more information beyond what is sold to you in the hiring process.

    Bonus structure: they utilize a complicated formula based on a revenue scale dependent on multiples of your base salary. Problem is, they can and will adjust the multiple on an annual basis. The process is pretty arbitrary and not based on profitability data, but rather an eye-ball approach. The eye ball of management wants you to make less and the company more. Producers who can or will put up a bigger fight, get less multiples

    o ***Important: None of the above applies to Burns & Wilcox Brokerage. In an attempt to gain market share in the brokerage space, BWB was formed in 2012. They needed to buy brokers away from competitors and the result is money flowing to those brokers like water from the Mississippi. If you’re any good – work at Burns & Wilcox Brokerage. Especially if you’re experienced. Bonuses of 30% are not unheard of – meanwhile the most loyal B&W producers are lucky to get half of that. There are some brokerage centric teams within B&W that by-far out perform BWB. BWB was formed in 2012 so the brokerage teams that existed prior-to are in a proverbial no mans land doing more work for less bonus, and no recourse.

    Bonuses for associates/assistants are paid out of the pocket of producers. The management cannot tell a producer how much to give one of their associates, and the associate cannot establish any goals or expectations in order to advance his/her individual compensation. There is no pathway for associates/trainees to say to themselves 'if I accomplish x, I can expect y earnings'. There is also no set criteria for increased salary increments from formal promotions and subsequent title changes. If you're promoted from trainee to associate - you are at the mercy of your own negotiation abilities and benevolence of your branch manager and his/her relationship with their EVP to determine what kind of a raise that entails.

    There are horror stories coming from some of the larger teams in the company that associates receive no bonus while unbeknownst to them, the producer they work for, may be receiving several hundred thousand dollars in bonus compensation. You, as the associate meanwhile, have been working your tail off for the team with the belief that the holy grail is just upon the horizon, only to be completely devastated if and when you find out the arrangement that you've found yourself to be a part of. Consequently, it is in the producers best interest to prevent associates from ever being promoted to a team of their own.

    A visual reference: there will be reserved parking spaces in the parking garage, when you as the associate arrive in the morning, the spaces are empty. When you leave for the night after a hard days' work, the spaces are empty. The person who you work for and make look great on a daily basis, has one of those spaces.

    Lastly - branch management. Office depending, the branch manager will generally be older and is seemingly partially retired while technically having a full-time job. This is due to the managers lack of a production requirement. Some managers take full advantage of this and are paid a lot to do personal tasks on company time.

    Advice to Management

    There is a reason that we are losing top performers and veterans and replacing them with associates and trainees. The cat is getting out of the bag on the disparity between the BWB bonus structure and B&W so loyal B&W employees are realizing that they are being taken advantage of and moving on to the competition.

    Set some expectations for junior employees for a some clarity on what fruits can come from their labor. Have some sort of mechanism to prevent producers from allowing their associates/trainees to do all of the work with zero to little share of the bonus. Some associates far exceed their senior producer, while the producer reaps all of the rewards. Then the associate realizes he/she is very marketable to the competition, and leaves.


  9. "Underwriter"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time

    Pros

    Some flexibility to work remote. Some department have better oppornity

    Cons

    Little chance to advance. Management hears what they want to


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Nope."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Underwriter/Broker in Phoenix, AZ (US)
    Former Employee - Underwriter/Broker in Phoenix, AZ (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Burns & Wilcox full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You can find a few worthy people in this company, hold on to them while the ship sinks.

    Cons

    1. You are expected to be a trainer, a producer, an assistant, the accounting department, an underwriter, a office admin, a mailer, an office coordinator, and get out and make visit. Overworked and undervalued.
    2. Management has their favorites and it's evident everyday. Picks and chooses opportunities for favorites, doesnttalk to you on his daily rounds if you're not buddies, and gives people special treatment. Life is hard for you if you aren't buddy buddy.
    3. Managements teams specifically is told to spy and eavesdrop on others conversations and have been caught in the act. Really bad for morale and contributes to the bad environment and drama instead of supposedly wanting to help it
    4. Lack of support- management brags about having # production teams, but these teams are just one producer with NO SUPPORT and they will burn out. If you can't keep employees, you'll keep losing the good ones to a company who will respect their skills and time.
    5. The management competes and doesn't build up other teams. When asking for advice from management one will receive only vague answers and no skills and techniques are taught. The managements team is very closed lipped and do not share their expertise for the benefit of helping the entire office.
    6. The management has lost 12 employees in the last year. Not a good investment to train your employees for a different company. You could say that the management is the industries best trainer! Haha

    Advice to Management

    Please take a closer look and the people you have in the lead. Learn to respect and grow your employee team and realize potential, educate people and support the ones who want to work hard.


  11. "Good place to learn"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time

    Pros

    Thoughtful leadership, great access to markets, good place to learn

    Cons

    Holiday/PTO time is limited and limited work from home

    Advice to Management

    Engage more with your teams, focus on communication.


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