2019 Emerging Leader

Ernest Mashingaidze
Wawanesa Insurance
Toronto, ON

Ernest’s friends and colleagues hold him up in the greatest regard – and that regard has been well earned. Working the front lines of our industry to help claimants recover from their losses, Ernest maintains a positive, happy and optimistic outlook. “Those that know him agree,” writes his nominator. “To know him is to respect him.”

Ernest started his P&C career at Wawanesa Insurance, first as an inside claims representative in the auto property damage department, and later joining the Ontario region handling automobile physical damage claims. With his excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, and his commitment to duty of care, he has risen quickly through the ranks, and is now property claims adjuster, level II, investigating and settling residential, commercial and condo claims.

The ability to bring comfort at a difficult time is perhaps one of Ernest’s most endearing personality traits. His nominator recounts a situation where Ernest took over a problematic house fire claim. The claim had been open for a long time, without much progress. From the moment Ernest took over, he communicated clearly with the insured about what would happen next, then followed through. At the meeting to close the claim at the settlement stage, the insured started crying, and when asked why, she said that she was crying tears of joy. She said she didn’t cry when she sustained the loss, but having it completed competently brought tears to her eyes.

Ernest takes initiative, and mentors those younger than him in the organization. Earlier this year, Ernest volunteered to help with the onboarding of summer students for their internship program; he facilitated a presentation and provided technical training.

Ernest has also been intimately involved with Wawanesa’s engagement committee, where he is the lead for Ontario Property. Ernest has worked hard to bring the ideas of front line staff to senior management to improve processes and procedures. “Ernest is not afraid to embark on new projects and opportunities that may challenge the status quo,” says one of his supporters.

Ernest pursued his Bachelor in Business Administration at Trent University, and during his time there, was vice-president of the Trent African and Caribbean Student Union (TACSU). While his responsibilities in this role were oversight and managing finances, he was happy to step in to help the VP of Communications when Ernest’s graphic and video producing skills were required. “Whenever there is a situation that requires leadership, Ernest is never afraid to take the lead in a selfless manner,” writes his nominator.

Ernest completed his CIP designation early on in his career, and completed it in five semesters. He is now enrolled in the FCIP program, and is also pursuing his MBA and CRM simultaneously. His ability to multi-task and prioritize timelines has motivated those around him. “He has inspired me, along with others in the industry, to begin taking their CIP courses because of the rate at which he took his and the rate he continues to grow and learn,” writes a supporter.

Ernest is active with the Institute’s Ambassador Program, reaching out to high-school and post-secondary students to educate them about the variety of insurance careers in the industry. He has created a YouTube channel, “Let’s Talk Careers,” where he answers questions about insurance and aims to put a face to the industry. Through his advocacy promoting the profession, Ernest hopes he will be hearing a lot less of, "I fell into insurance" and, "I stumbled into insurance." He hopes to make the insurance industry one that people proactively seek out and aspire to become part of.

Further to this end, Ernest acts as a mentor in his community, recently participating in a Men as Career Coaches (MACC) event in Burlington, where he was paired with grade 12 students to provide career and industry advice.

Outside of the industry, Ernest lends his time to organizations working to fight poverty. Last year, he participated in the “Living on the Edge” United Way simulation in Toronto, which is a thought-provoking project that helps participants engage in conversations about poverty, perceptions, systemic issues and generational poverty. Ernest also supports initiatives to assist single mothers in Zimbabwe through monetary donations.

“Ernest has demonstrated a propensity to learn, a natural inclination to lead, as well as innovative ways to reach and communicate with those outside of the industry,” says his nominator.

For the consummate professional that he is, it gives the CIP Society great honour to recognize Ernest as an Emerging Leader in 2019.