Fabien Jagoo has been a part of Co-operators Insurance for nearly twenty-five years. He joined the company in 1992 after completing his Bachelor of Commerce at McMaster University. “I had finished my degree and I received a call from a high school friend who said that the Co-operators was hiring. I borrowed money from my parents for the bus ticket back from Hamilton. I wore the same suit to all three interviews, but I got the job,” he explains.
Jagoo’s family originally emigrated from Trinidad in the 1960s. “My mom used to remind my dad that we left the hottest country in the world to come to the coldest country. We moved here when I was a year and my brother was three,” Jagoo says. They spent several years in Montreal before his father took a position in the plants. “My dad helped build Union Carbide which is now Nova in Mooretown. There are about 100 families that moved here between 1975 and 1976 from Montreal. That’s where all of the local Montreal Canadiens fans come from.”
When Jagoo first joined the Co-operators, they operated out of a single office and he learned from the more experienced team members about the business. “I was 23 years old. I quickly learned that it’s a people business. You have to like working with people and you have to get involved in your community,” he says. In 1997, the Co-operators moved to an Agency Distribution System. “The first franchise office opened in 1996 and I went out on my own in 1999. The risk was all on us. We were the forefathers, but I was still very young; I was the youngest to own an office in all of Southern Ontario. I was 29 years old when I signed the contract. It was a steep learning curve: I didn’t even know how to run payroll.”