Class of 1984
Jeffry Hall Brock was born in Guelph, Ontario in 1850, the youngest of 11 children. He is remembered most notably as the founder of Great-West Life, one of the top insurance companies in North America today.
Brock moved to Winnipeg in 1879 and established a partnership with Captain G.F. Carruthers, who was in the insurance and finance business. During the next few years, Brock became aware of how eastern policies were hurting the west. Obtaining financing was increasingly difficult in Winnipeg, and high insurance rates were a growing problem. Brock felt that the people needed a Winnipeg-based insurance company that would understand the unique challenges they faced.
There were many in the insurance business who doubted the future of a Winnipeg-based company. Although 40 insurance companies did business in Canada at the time, only 9 were Canadian and none were based in the west. Yet Brock pursued his vision and established Great-West Life in 1891, taking in $2.7 million during the first year. Great-West Life exceeded all expectations, becoming the nation’s fastest growing insurance company within five years. Financing new farms and retail enterprises, the company provided families in the west with the financial security and protection they had needed for so long. By 1896, Great-West Life was represented in every province.
Brock was Managing Director of Great-West Life until his death in 1915. Today, Great-West Life is a leading Canadian insurer, offering financial and benefit plans to families, individuals and business owners across the country.