Educated at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Ed Hofstede, President at PPI Benefits, has been in the insurance sector for over 30 years, citing PPI as a natural evolution in his career.
Joining the company almost 15 years ago, he started out as a Regional Leader at PPI Financial Group before going on to become the Vice President of Marketing at PPI Advisory, the VP of PPI Benefits and finally President in 2016. Hofstede’s passion and dedication The success and results of PPI Benefits are driven by its leadership team, who join together in a united effort to promote the best services for clients.
Change is certainly in the global zeitgeist - whether socially, economically or technologically motivated, in the digital era, most businesses are finding that the only way to stay relevant is to identify trends and adapt to them. “I've tried to always view our business as working through advisors to help their clients create healthy, engaged, loyal and productive employees,” Hofstede says. He identifies this simple strategy as integral to helping PPI’s clients provide necessary services and be successful. “Our mission is to help clients improve their work environment and build an exceptional employee experience for the modern world.”
In tandem with his obviously customer-centric style, Hofstede is also in-tune with the importance of technology and its capacity to enable better, more qualitative work. “I want to automate the predictable so we can humanise the exceptional,” he adds. “It’s all about making PPI Benefits really effective and efficient on the predictable processes so that we’ve got more time to deal with people.”
He is also conscious of the fact that the modern insurance customer’s expectations are being moulded by their experiences in other sectors: “These days, you're not just being compared to other advisors, administrators or insurance companies,” Hofstede says. “Now, you're being compared to the best experience a customer can have anywhere, dealing with anybody.” With companies like Amazon revolutionising the convenience of shopping and same/next day delivery, why shouldn’t PPI Benefits try to do something similar in its field, he asks. “In addition to just the traditional benefits, dental plan and pension, maybe there could be an employee assistance programme, a mental health programme, alcohol treatment program, employee discounts, etc.”
As a prolific idea generator, Hofstede has reshaped companies through a focus on differentiated customer experience, team building, and revenue growth. He believes that people perform their best when they enjoy being at work, so he tries to keep things light and even serious meetings are rarely concluded without a few rounds of laughter. His formula for business is: (Innovation + Execution) X Caring = Success.
“Sometimes automation is seen as a panacea. We see it as one of a number of solutions, not a silver bullet.”