Great book on selling benefits with insightful comments that apply to the entire financial business. It is easy to read and enjoyable because of the pictures and stories Dave tells of his sailing adventures, weaving them into an important point relating to the group benefits industry. I appreciate Dave’s openness to share his knowledge and to spend so much time and energy making the industry a better place for advisors and clients alike.


Dave has provided the reader with numerous practical and valuable insights. It's a must read for anyone for anyone exposed to employee benefits, whether they're an advisor, employer or plan member.

Michael McClenahan

The advice shared by Dave Patriarche in “Selling Benefits” will definitely prove useful to anyone who is involved in a small business and provides benefits to their employees. The book is easy to follow with one piece of relevant advice per chapter. Patriarche is a firm believer in a work life balance; hence, each chapter showcases some of the travels he has embarked on by showing gorgeous images.

Some of the chapters that may be of interest to the reader include: Chapter 9, Use Curiosity and questioning to create lasting change; Chapter 18, Slow down. Take your time and do things right.


It quickly becomes apparent while reading Selling Benefits, how passionate and dedicated Dave is to bringing his expertise to his role as an Employee Benefits Specialist. This book reads as if I was sitting next to Dave, having a casual conversation, discussing the industry's top issues. It’s clear that he has spent his entire career helping people, whether it’s clients, fellow advisors, carrier partners or friends. He really wants to make people better.

If you are currently or plan on becoming an Employee Benefit Specialist you should definitely read this book!

Janice Carter

An excellent guide for both up and coming as well as established employee benefit advisors.

Dave's unique outlook to the employee benefits industry challenges conventional ways of thinking that should be considered by all working in this space.

It's the focused approach that everyone - client, advisor, and insurer/TPA - "benefits" from over the long-term. This book illustrates countless examples of how Dave's philosophy of hyper-specialization and a client-focused approach has helped him with establishing and maintaining long-term business relationships that last.

It's also a nice added bonus to see stories and pictures weaved into the book from travels and other experiences along the way to help tell the tale.

Highly recommended!

Jordan Bulhoes

Retirement Idea Becomes A Reality And A COVID project
Benefits and Pensions Monitor - Dec. 2022

In November and December 2019, before we even knew what COVID was, I thought it might be a good time to jot down a few ideas that could be used when I wrote my first book. There was no immediate intent to carry through with that, but I like to ‘get stuff down on paper.’ I thought it might be something to finish in my retirement years. The idea for the book was to share some of my learnings from 25 years in the business – the things I learned late, that could have helped me immensely had I only learned them earlier. One or two ideas in my head quickly turned into a list of about 20 ending up on paper. The idea paused there without a second thought.  READ ARTICLE

Daves knowledge of Canadian group benefits is exceptional, he has created a map to help you guide your hard earned clients and prospects in the right direction. He teaches you how to be a better advisor and run a better benefits business.   Well done!

Nicholas Mombourquette

I am always proud of the contributions made by Canadian Group Insurance Brokers members to better: their fellow members, clients and the industry overall, but Krista Barzso has another side, on top of being a customer focused benefits advisor, she's also an actress, screenwriter and producer.

Her latest project "Persistence" is already being nominated for, AND wining awards. Watch for it at a local film festival near you, or sign up for updates.

As a note, it was fun to see my book "Selling Benefits" appear in the movie. Obviously, from the book in front of them :-), the actors and crew (thanks Tatiana Orlova and Mona Hillis), must also be feeling Krista's passion for benefits, while living her passion for filmmaking.

Thank you for sending us copies of your book. I really enjoyed it. Having heard you speak a few times, it was great to hear your personality come through the pages. It takes a special talent to make employee benefits engaging and with your personal stories and photos it was a fantastic read with a lot of great information. I really felt your book not only provided good advice on being a benefits broker but a successful entrepreneur and leader!

Danielle Willoughby - Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan

Top 10 Health Insurance Books in Canada

A quick note to let you know I really appreciate your effort and advice in the book. I’ve downloaded the TED book already as my next read, agree with your approach to public profile and think from what I’ve read so far, you can certainly see the skipper in your approach to using the way the wind blows to navigate where you want to go.

Ross Hendin - Allevio Healthcare Inc.

Check out the podcast with Darlene Poier talking about the book and more. Pt.1 & Pt. 2 

Read your book, didn't speed read it or skip any section!!

Did I enjoy reading about my former profession, absolutely.

Lots of fun, brings back lots of memories of good and terrible clients, and believe it or not, good and terrible brokers, so thanks for that. 

No one can read this and not come away with a dozen ideas to improve their strategy and thus tactics and processes.  But maybe most important of all, is knowing that applying the blueprint(s) you've provided will give anyone the confidence that they are doing it right, they can and will be successful. 

To me that's the important takeaway for your readers. 

Bruce "12% trend" Matheson

Dave's book is an engaging, inspiring, and entertaining read. You can visualize his experiences along the way as he integrates his travels in business and in sailing which makes him so unique. He is a servant leader who truly wants to inspire everyone to make a difference in the industry while protecting his clients and yours. He shares his secrets to success; including how he balances work and fun, ways to learn what you don't do well, why we all need to specialize, and be the best we can be at what we do. We need to be prepared, to practice, to know contracts, question things and to get out of your comfort zone. One of my favourite quotes that speaks about Dave is "The more you lift up another, the more you are raised. Never underestimate how sharing can benefit both parties." Glad you decided to "speak up" Dave and not stay quiet. Your voice and support are a gift. Can't wait for book #2!

Chantel Seib

I finally found time to finish your excellent book Selling Benefits. I agree with all your comments. I particular aligned myself to chapter 20. I tell clients I am an advisor not a pharmacist - taking orders to fill out scripts.

I agree with your criteria for an order taker. I too have turned down prospects as there wasn’t going to be a good fit for long term relationship

Last year I tried to end a relationship with a client but he refused as I was “the only person that had the patience for him to work with him”
Not always successful

Great book. I have been in group benefits business 42 yrs and thoroughly enjoyed the book.

You all also made me rethink old strategies that I have not used in a while

Good luck in 2021

Joel Cadesky      

"I read your book and thought it was great! It underscores what I have come to learn about needing a strategic business partner who you can trust and who will fully analyse your needs. Beyond that, it underscores how companies/ organizations need to think beyond simply costs and engage a specialist who can provide the information and education needed to be effective in managing a benefits program, especially the risk management long-term planning aspects.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to be in the position we are now and it's funny, reading your book and then reflecting back at our conversations makes me grin, as now I understand how you were thinking. I can't remember if you initially turned me down as a client but I distinctly remember you not wanting to charge professional fees for advice which I found both refreshing a perplexing at the time. Now it makes sense!" 

Matt Garrison

"For someone that is new to the sales industry and the sales of employee benefits more specifically, I found it very interesting and helpful. I think it provided some great advice and also some great stories, and with these combined, it really helped to get the point across. This makes a lot of sense since one of his chapters is dedicated to being a good storyteller so you get your point across!! So the proof is in the pudding already! Along with that, there were some basic things that I thought I knew already like "putting the client first". Which I did know and still do, but the way that it was talked about in the book, the situations you may run into and what that could actually mean opened my eyes a bit. This doesn't always mean agreeing with the client which Dave explained well in the book, again, with great stories! It would probably take too long to list but it also gave me some goals moving forward, not in terms of groups or dollar amounts I hit but in terms of what type of person I want to be in this industry and what comes along with that. 

Overall, I think this book is great for someone that is new to the industry due to all of the experience that was shared along with the little tips and advice that was written throughout the chapters. It provided a great idea of what to expect moving forward and also provided some possible solutions to those future problems. I know that in this industry it is a never ending cycle of learning but I believe that this book will definitely bring more value to an inexperienced individual in employee benefits over someone that is experienced."

Jordan - Johnston  Group

"It's a very good book with value to anyone in the benefits field.  It was interesting to read it from my current experience and past experience as an advisor.  There were several things in there that should be common sense such as putting your clients first and walking away clients who don't hold the same values as you or are "fourth quarter shoppers."

Some of the things he highlighted that I thought were important for benefits advisors to adhere to were:
- actually understanding the administration/potential liability of the plan
- importance of protecting your clients
- Fair and sustainable pricing
- take time to educate your clients
- share your knowledge
- continue to learn yourself

With regard to specialization, I agree with him although this is tough for a new advisor. But as he says, aligning yourself with other advisors who specialize in other areas helps greatly, as long as you at least have the knowledge to recognize those opportunities.  

Taking the time to do things right, dealing with clients with like minded values and walking away from those that don't are important things to follow.  It's great advice for all advisors, and something we certainly follow at Johnston Group."

Darren Scott- Johnston  Group

There are many good advisors in the market doing good work. Many don’t know what makes them good nor how to move beyond and become great. 

Selling Benefits shines a light on some of the things they probably already do. Identifying those successful, and unconscious, behaviours allows them to consistently, and consciously, apply them to their daily business. 
Great brokers KNOW the value they bring to the table and how to deliver it to every client.  Kudos to you for sharing all “your secrets”. Because of you, there is a new breed of group advisors in the market today. 

 - Education builds confidence.
 - Confidence brings self assurance.
 - Self assurance creates the power to do what is right for the client, at all times.  A win-win for all! 

In my 34 years working in the group insurance industry, never has the advisor future been brighter. This book needs to be put in a can and fed to all new advisors thinking of selling group benefits.

Over twenty years ago, I remember us both lamenting about the lack of advisor education but you did something about it! 

Debbie Telfer       

Interested in buying one or two copies? orders may take 2 months vs FriesenPress 2 weeks hard or soft covers may take 2 months vs Friesen Press's 2 weeks orders may take 2 months vs Friesen Press 2 wks.

I tucked into Dave’s book on a Sunday afternoon and found it to be a highly entertaining read. But more than that, as someone from a completely different industry, I found myself analyzing my own practices and how I could employ Dave’s advice into my own financial advice practice. I highly recommend anyone (not just salespeople) running their own business to set aside a few hours and read this gem.

Mark McMahon       

Photo compliments

Mike Duggan


Front-step book signing

Helping clients navigate the seas of group insurance
by Leo Almazora - Life Health Pro - Dec. 2020

For any professional charting their career in the insurance industry, becoming an ultra-niche expert might feel like an aggressive and risky bet. But for the founder of Canadian Group Insurance Brokers (CGIB), Canada’s only broker-focused group benefits association, taking the plunge and becoming a specialist made perfect sense.

“Specialization has so many benefits,” David Patriarche told Life and Health Professional. “You only have to learn one thing, but the learning doesn’t stop because there's just so much to take in. It also means that you don't have to constantly reinvent who you are and reintroduce yourself to people … If you’re known as the person with all your eggs in one basket, then people will also know who to get eggs from.”  READ ARTICLE

How to prosper in the group benefits business
by Susan Yellin -  Insurance Journal - Dec. 2020

"For five years, Dave Patriarche phoned a prospect with an alternative group benefits package and costs for the entrepreneur's employee. They always chatted, but the businessman stayed firm with the plan and advisor he already had.

Then out of the blue one year, Dave Patriarche received a call from the business owner saying the renewal for his current plan showed up late and the advisor failed half of his service guarantee. So be immediately called Patriarche to tell him he was now on the account..." READ ARTICLE

Keeping a sales team and service team on the same page while working entirely remotely is brings about some terrific opportunities, including twice daily video scrums on Slack.  Then in our general channel as folks come online we post a ‘Good Morning!’ greeting.  However, inspired by the content of @Dave Patriarche’s book, my Good Morning posts this week have been in the form of a line or two from Selling Benefits.  
This morning’s being: “Know who your client is and who they are not . . . start the relationship by remembering who pays the bill. ”

Howard Kettner       

Read the book to hear the stories behind these photos

Dave Patriarche

Sailor, Benefits Advisor, Speaker, Expert Witness, Author

Dave founded Mainstay Insurance Brokerage in 1996 as a one-person shop specializing in providing employee benefits to small and mid-sized businesses . Mainstay has grown substantially and now Dave only accepts one or two new clients each year and upon referral only.  This ensures that he has aligned and educated client partnerships that get the level of attention they deserve. 

Dave is a strong believer in continuing education and recognized the need for the group insurance industry to broaden its efforts in this area. In 2003 he started a small networking group, which evolved into breakfast meetings and then into regular educational seminars beginning in 2009. In 2011 he founded CGIB, the Canadian Group Insurance Brokers, an organization dedicated to supporting networking and continuing education for the group insurance industry.

Contact Dave

Click to visit

He is an accomplished speaker at industry events across the country.  Dave has worked “behind the scenes” acting as an expert witness in cases involving employee benefits and is often chosen as the “go-to” expert for others in the business. 

Dave is recognized as a leader in the group benefits industry and is a contributor to various industry publications. He mentors and acts as an informal resource to other benefit brokers, especially those new to the benefits field. 

Dave spends his spare time with his wife Joanne (VP HR) and their sons Matthew (teacher), his wife Kiki (home designer) and Mitchell (soon doing his Masters at Cardiff University). He enjoys taking his clients, friends, associates, and just about anyone that wants to come along, sailing on Lake Scugog, or on occasion on the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas. Somewhere along the way he fond time to write a book “SELLING BENEFITS- Lessons Learned, Voyages Travelled, Stories Shared”


Did you love the book and want to share it?


Want your sales team team to learn the lessons shared?


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Do you wish your staff had a better grasp of these concepts?


Interested in buying copies in quantity?

The benefits book you've been waiting for

Lessons Learned - Voyages Travelled - Stories Shared

This is not just a book about selling employee benefits, another sales manual or a book about sailing trips and travelling the world. SELLING BENEFITS is all that and more, in an easy and entertaining read. You will enjoy and make use of the lessons shared to improve both yourself and your practice. Your business relationships will thrive and be more successful.



Looking for wider distribution? PDF versions are available with larger discounts for distribution to groups such as all

employees or clients.


Interested in having the author for a speaker / book signing? Dave's BIO is HERE and is available, just call 905-886-9203.


If you want to buy in bulk and save?  Discounts are available for orders over 10, 25, 50 and 100 softcover copies.

Send an e-mail to:


Dave shares his learnings from his long term business partnerships and through those you will better understand:


- How to establish lifelong relationships no one will be able to break

- Lessons to help strengthen client partnerships

- How to build client loyalty that won't be compromised

- Ways of using storytelling to make business lessons stick.


Practical take-aways you can use immediately to improve your business and be more successful.


Did you read SELLING BENFITS and want to share your thoughts?

Purchase a copy on or on the FriesenPress Bookstore



and write a review, or send to us and we'll add it here.

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Retail price: is $24.99 US & .ca is $38.00 Cdn

"It quickly becomes apparent while reading Selling Benefits, how passionate and dedicated Dave is to bringing his expertise to his role as an Employee Benefit Specialist. 

Its pages highlight everything you need to know about having a successful benefit practice, how to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships and how to educate and protect your clients from potential legal/liability issues. He is an advocate for continuous education which was his motivation for starting the Canadian Group Insurance Brokers Association. Throughout the book he uses his love for sailing and his experiences on the water to relate the good and the bad you can encounter in group benefits.

This book reads as if I was sitting next to Dave, having a casual conversation, discussing the industry's top issues. It’s clear that he has spent his entire career helping people, whether it’s clients, fellow advisors, carrier partners or friends. He really wants to make people better.

If you are currently or plan on becoming an Employee Benefit Specialist you should definitely read this book! "

Lindsay Gibson, GBA        

"This is the perfect book for all insurance advisors.  If you have one benefits client or 10,000 this book is for you. Dave is a professional, a leader and an expert in the employee benefits business.  Dave is sharing his knowledge and wisdom on how to be a true advisor with your clients and not just an order taker.  

The lessons learned from this book and if practiced by you, your current and future client relationships will strengthen and your competition will be left scratching their heads. Every chapter has a valuable lesson that can be used daily in your insurance and employee benefits practice.  Dave shares his successes through real life adventures, stories and experience.   Buy this book, read it, then read it again and again.  I wish I had it 32 years ago when I started in this business. "

Robert J. Crowder, CLU, GBA- President, The Benefits Trust