Welcome to

Thunderbird Commercial Insurance (TCI) is a majority Aboriginal owned commercial insurance broker and a proud member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia.

Thunderbird Commercial Insurance is a founding broker of Aboriginal Insurance Services Inc.(AIS); a national insurance provider that is also 51% aboriginally owned. AIS partners with local, Aboriginal oriented insurance brokers and “A” rated insurance markets to provide customized insurance products, programs and services tailored to address the unique cultural, commercial, and lifestyle needs of Aboriginal communities, businesses and non profit organizations across Canada.

TCI, through its association with various insurance and risk management solution partners, offers a full range of commercial insurance products and risk management services for both aboriginal and non aboriginal businesses and organizations.

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  • Our

    Thunderbird Commercial Insurance commits to giving back to the communities we deal with and providing our clients an opportunity to earn “own source revenues” through insurance via their joint ventures, impact benefit agreements and set-aside agreements.

    Ryan was drawn to insurance while working on his business diploma from NSCC after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cape Breton University with a concentration in Mi'kmaq Studies. His goal is to assist aboriginal communities protect their property and members through implementing risk management programs and having the proper insurance in place. Through his work ethic and passion for coaching youth hockey within his home community of Membertou, Ryan strives to be a positive role model for all Aboriginal youth.

    Malcolm has been involved in providing insurance and risk management advice to First Nations for over a decade. To give back to communities supporting his livelihood Malcolm volunteered his time to participate in organizations that worked to improve aboriginal economic development initiatives as well as convincing the companies he worked for to provide sponsorship to a wide variety of aboriginal initiatives. Malcolm was vice president of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business, and active member of both the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers as well as a voice for aboriginal interests as a member of the Independent Power Producers of BC, now Green Energy BC as well as the BC Business Council.

  • The TCI

    Thunderbird CI is the only aboriginally controlled insurance broker in Atlantic Canada and Aboriginal Insurance Services the only national insurance provider owned by the aboriginal insurance brokers that represent its products.

    Ryan and Malcolm are committed to not just protecting but improving the financial and personal wellbeing of our clients and their stakeholder, be they community members, business owners, non profit directors or shareholders.

    TCI does not just provide insurance but strives through its risk management and insurance partners, to assist our clients to avoid or at least mitigate the financial and personal suffering caused by fires, the vagaries of weather and/or the actions of others.

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  • Services

    The most effective claims management strategy is developing, implementing and monitoring a proactive loss reduction program.

    Every community, organization and business faces an almost endless variety of risks. Each risk represents the probability of a loss, claim or other negative event. For example, an icy parking lot represents the risk of a person falling and being injured. If the parking lot is regularly shovelled and salted, then the probability of an incident is minimized.Conversely, if no actions are taken to make the parking lot safe, then the probability of someone slipping and/or falling is increased. Most risks can be controlled by proactive planning and actions either by eliminating or reducing the number of claims or by mitigating the loss such as putting in sprinklers to reduce losses by fire.

    Most events such as fires, vehicle accidents, crime and other negative incidents, create financial losses and in some cases bodily injury, which often turn into insurance claims. Repeated insurance claims will result in higher premiums, large deductibles and in some situations the inability of the client to obtain insurance coverage on specific assets which could result in funding issues with government and other lenders.

    Insurance is one key component of the broader discipline of “Risk Management” which is a systematic approach for preventing losses and effectively controlling the cost of risk.

  • TCI/AIS Loss
    Reduction Program

    Reducing fire related losses:

    • Inspections to identify specific fire hazards and then immediate action to remove or remediate these hazards; for any program to be effective it must have a system in place to monitor corrective activity.
    • Assist in providing communities innovative fire reduction products and equipment

    Reducing auto claims:

    • TCI through AIS offers certified fleet safety instruction program
    • TCI will provide hand outs and/or guides on fleet safety
    • TCI provides advise to clients on managing auto liability deductibles and on claims management

    Reducing slip & fall claims:

    • TCI provides hand outs and/or other guides on how to both reduce the incidents of slip & falls, particularly at high volume business operations such as bingo/gaming, as well as reducing the frequency and severity of these, often fraudulent, claims.
  • TCI Proactive
    Underwriting Program

    TCI in partnership with AIS will provide the following services:

    • Inspections of homes and public buildings
    • Tracking of “action items” that require immediate attention
    • Conduct fire survey including fire hydrant and equipment inspection
    • Development of Community Emergency Response Plans
    • Fire hydrant maintenance training material
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  • Products

    Thunderbird Commercial Insurance (TCI) offers its client specialized insurance and risk mitigation solutions to meet the unique needs of our client’s. TCI combines this diverse product offering with professional service that is fully aware of how business should be transacted with aboriginal organizations.

    Thunderbird Commercial Insurance works with AIS and our national network of brokers to launch new insurance products and services that are created to fully protect your interests when claims occur. TCI has a close relationship with the claims adjusting companies to ensure your claims are responded to quickly and adjudicated fairly.

  • Community Asset Insurance

    Currently there are three community asset insurance programs available to most First Nations in Atlantic Canada; two other insurance packages are offered regionally. The coverages provided with all these programs are very similar with some variations in coverage and exclusions. It is important that person(s) making insurance and related risk transfer/mitigation decisions be made aware of the differences and that it is crucial “all” assets and operations of the community are accounted for and this information supplied to the insurance provider. If a building is lost to fire and not on the schedule than making a claim could be very difficult if not impossible.

    Under normal circumstances, where premium costs are constant and service meets expectation, we suggest that First Nation administrations, as agents for their community members, go out for community asset insurance proposals every three years to ensure they are getting the best value for their community both in costs and in coverage.

    Experience has demonstrated that the decision each First Nation community makes on which program to support is normally based on:

    1. Premiums – cost of insurance
    2. Service – particularly on claims

    TCI proposes that communities should also consider:

    1. Asset Valuation, risk management and loss reduction services provided by your broker
    2. Community participation and contribution by your broker back to your community members; particularly youthprograms
    3. Other insurance products and services offered by your broker
    4. The involvement of the individual broker representative in volunteering and other support to improve the lives of aboriginal people on any level

    Once TCI provides a proposal and the community retains TCI to be their broker TCI will come to your community to perform an on-site survey including visiting and photographing all assets owned and/or controlled by your community.

    TCI will provide:

    1. Asset Valuation, Loss Prevention & Reduction Advice:

    Under insurance is a major issue when losses occur as construction costs increase and property schedules are not updated to reflect these changes. Many claims can be prevented but just as important is the number losses that can be reduced by pre-loss devices, utilizing best practice in construction and ongoing maintenance.

  • Commercial Marine

    Thunderbird Commercial Insurance has a wide variety of Commercial Marine products backed by a industry leaders in marine specific coverage.

    Commercial Fishing Vessels – Sample & Optional Coverages

    1. Policies Based on Institute Fishing Vessel Clauses Agreed Value Policy Repair costs reimbursed without deduction for depreciation
    2. Pollution Cover included to the limit of the P&I Policy
    3. Surveys paid for by Underwriters when required by Underwriters
    4. Crewman Personal Effects
    5. Ice Damage Deductible Options
    6. No Additional Machinery Deductible applied to machinery less than 10 years old
    7. No Restricted Machinery Cover Clause – Usually applied to machinery over 10 years old
    8. Continuity Credits – Premium Refunds Available Based on Defined Claims Record

    Marinas, Dock, Wharves Including Stock Losses

    Property Coverage: Property coverage includes docks, wharves, piers, pontoons, lifting & yarding equipment, stock, bait…

    Equipment Breakdown including Boiler & Machinery: Losses related to equipment breakdowns caused by insured perils such as lightening are covered, as is coverage for business related losses; ice making equipment, fueling systems & communication equipment, loss of stock, including bait.

    Marine General Liability: Marine liability policy has a $5,000,000 limit with a wide range of coverage extensions. Operations covered include marina operations, pollution & products liability.

    Umbrella Liability: The AIS program offers optional increased liability limits.

    Environment Impairment Liability: Even the most well maintained fuel tanks and other operations dealing with potential pollutants can experience a loss.

    Business Interruption: Coverage for loss of business income for losses as a result of an insured loss.

    Accidental Death & Dismemberment Coverage – Fishery employees, captains, mates & related staff: Often fishery employees are not covered by WCB; those that are covered have less than a $15,000 death benefit. The TCI AD&D policy includes a comprehensive list of coverages including $200,000 in death benefits.

    Legal Defense Insurance – Coverage available for fishery management and captains: There are a variety of licensing requirements that allow for individuals being charged criminally; they will require immediate legal advice & representation. Criminal acts are “excluded” from traditional insurance coverage even if the charges are unsubstantiated or falsely placed.


    Cargo Insurance; Stock coverage for commercial fishing vessels until they are unloaded; Shipbuilders Liability – Marine Builders Risk; Fish Processing Facilities; On Shore & Off Shore Aquaculture Operations

Malcolm Smith, left, and Ryan Ginnish, middle right, making a recent donation of $5,000 to Sheila Swasson, middle left, and Jody Mitchell of the listuguj outdoor rink committee for a new multipurpose rink proposed for the First Nation.

Contact Us Today!

  • Our Quebec partner is
    Vezina Assurance Inc.

  • Line Ferguson, A.I.B.
    Damage Insurance Broker
    Account Manager
    (514) 257-5172 (telephone)
    (514) 253-4453 (fax)
  • lferguson@vezinainc.com
  • Aboriginal Insurance Services