Skip to content

Insurance broker Mike McRitchie to retire after 42 years in the business

McRitchie, 62, has worked in the insurance world for 42 years. He originally began at Ottawa Real Estate and Insurance in 1980 before taking over McCauley Agencies in 1989.
McRitchie retire
Mike McRitchie and Derek McRitchie pose for a picture outside McCauley Agencies on Main Street. Mike is retiring after 42 years and has sold the business to Derek. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

After more than four decades of helping people secure insurance for their home, vehicle or farm, Mike McRitchie has decided to call it a career.

McRitchie, 62, has worked in the insurance world for 42 years. He originally began at Ottawa Real Estate and Insurance in 1980 before taking over McCauley Agencies in 1989. Now, he is set to pass the company’s reins to his relative, Derek, who owns Ottawa Real Estate.

Stepping away from full-time work will allow McRitchie to spend more time with his family and attend more of his grandchildren’s sporting activities. He will also be able to tinker more in his garage. 

With a chuckle, he said he was unsure when his last day would be. He is still going through the transitional period of handing over the business and ensuring that the accountants and lawyers are satisfied.

“I wanted to see the business transition to remain locally owned and operated versus some of the larger conglomerates that are starting to move in. So that was extremely important to me,” said McRitchie, adding he’s had a great career and interacted with many great people but thought it was time to pass the torch.

It’s a bonus that Derek — a family member — is buying the business since he wants to maintain the two locations. The goal is to keep one business downtown and eventually construct a new building on Thatcher Drive. 

“It’s interesting. I’m old and tired and he’s young and ambitious,” McRitchie laughed. 

McRitchie began working in construction in the 1970s with the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. However, he didn’t think it was safe and realized he didn’t want to perform this work forever. So, he moved into the insurance industry at age 20 in 1980. 

Nine years later, he decided to own a brokerage and bought McCauley Agencies.

“I prefer to control my own destiny and go from there. It requires a lot of time and a lot of work, there’s no doubt about that. I work very long hours,” he said, noting he regularly goes to work at 5:30 a.m. to handle accounting. 

“I just feel that as a broker owner, you should know all aspects of your operation, as any business owner should, really. You’re a better manager if you know all aspects of it.” 

McRitchie enjoyed working with his clients over the decades and helping them acquire insurance or supporting them through difficult claims. He noted that you have to enjoy working with others — whether customers or underwriters — to thrive in the insurance business.

He saw many changes in the industry during his 42 years, but the biggest one was the introduction of automation. With a chuckle, he noted that a typewriter was considered automation decades ago. Now, technology handles almost everything, which allows him to spend more time with customers. 

McRitchie added that he was thankful to the clients and staff he interacted with over the past five decades.