A quarter century has come and gone…


It is hard to believe that I am celebrating my 25th anniversary this July!  A quarter century just passed in the blink of an eye!


In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought it would be fun to share the story of how it all began, as well as a few memories of my early days with Costen Insurance (formerly known as ‘Costen & Associates Insurance and Financial Planning Ltd’).


Flash back to July 1998.  I had just graduated from Sir Winston Churchill High School and was planning to continue working at Dairy Queen and the Edgemont Retirement Home over the summer.  My dad (Larry Costen), asked if I’d be willing to come work at the Office a few days per week to help answer phones and do some filing for the summer.  I of course said yes, and thus began my career in Insurance!


That first summer went by quickly, and my dad asked me to stay on in the fall, as I was taking a year off before heading off to University.  I continued to work part-time at the Office while also working two other jobs and saving up for school for the following year.  During the first couple of years working for Costen Insurance, I worked as a receptionist and then obtained my Broker licence.  We moved to a new location on Centre Street and I attended University (first a year of Engineering, then a year of Acturial Science, then some business classes to figure out where I was headed).  I eventually ended up at Mount Royal College attending their Bachelor of Financial Services Degree program, and continued working as an Insurance Broker throughout.  During this time, I also met my husband (at work!).  His dad shared office space with us and he’d popped in to borrow the fax machine!


Over the years, Insurance and the technology involved has drastically changed.  When I started in 1998, I had to convince my dad that we needed internet and an email address!  We used an old thermal fax machine, applications and pink cards were hand-written on paper, our policy change forms had a carbon copy that we kept clipped into our paper files, and our insurance software (which we STILL use to this day) was brand new and MS-DOS based. I still have the floppy disc for ‘version 1.0’ in my desk!  We also had a binder/paper manual that we used to determine all of the rates for home and auto insurance.  Premiums and deductibles were low, and the calculations were simple.  We didn’t have a website, social media didn’t exist, and we were advertising in a double page ad in the Yellow Pages!


Fast forward 25 years, and everything has changed.  Most of our business is done over the phone or by email instead of in-person.  We still receive the occasional fax, but they come to our email instead of being printed out on thermal paper.  Applications and pink cards are digital and we use e-signatures most of the time.  The Insurance Companies have online portals where we go to process new business and policy changes.  Our insurance software has been (somewhat) updated and now integrates with a bunch of other software programs.  Manuals are online and change constantly, and we have quoting software that we use to calculate the rates, which are based on too many factors and variables to count. Premiums are much higher than they used to be, and minimum deductibles are significantly higher as well.  We have a website, numerous social media channels to manage, and we advertise in a variety of ways including online and through radio.  We have also expanded to include Branch locations and an Office in Cochrane.


I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Costen Insurance legacy.  Over the past 25 years, I have been involved in all aspects of the business from reception to Broker to Vice President, and then taking over as President from my dad in 2015.  I’ve gotten married, raised my three beautiful boys, and met amazing people through this business who have become like family.  I had a part in the expansion of the business, in creating a new brand image and trade name, creating our customer newsletter and blog, and so much more. I’ve had a very fulfilling career so far and I look forward to what the future holds for this amazing business that I have been lucky to be part of!


To celebrate my milestone anniversary, my dad, my brother and my ‘insurance brother’ (Andrew) and families took a trip earlier this year to Mexico.  Late last month, we also held a celebration with the Team and took over the Cochrane Lanes Bowling Alley for a fun evening of bowling, food, drinks and fun!

To all of our amazing clients (many whom have been part of the Costen Insurance Family long before I was), thank you for your continued support of our business and the Costen Insurance Team!


Yours truly,

Crista Costen