small company BIG SERVICE

About Us

Americano, espresso, half caf, iced coffee, coffee with cream or with soy.

There are endless options at your favourite coffee shop. It could be confusing, but you’ve decoded the language of coffee, and know what to order.


So far 2020 has delivered unprecedented challenges to the world. Chamber Champions deliver an unprecedented show of support in response to these challenges.

Gates Insurance is proud to step up with an expression of support and confidence in the AVCC and the Annapolis Valley business community.

Become a Chamber Champion today!

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It was important to me to have my insurance bundled up with one firm, at a great price, working with professionals who could answer my questions promptly. I received everything I wanted. As an added perk - I'm buying local, my favorite thing! Thank you Gates Insurance for making the transition a breeze.

-- Kathryn Whitewood
-- Real Estate Agent

I never really understood the role of an insurance "broker" until we met Wade Tibbo at Gates Insurance.

Our previous broker offered competitive premiums via email exchanges but when issues arose, they were nowhere to be found. Wade spent a great deal of time going over the costs/benefits of each item covered and in the end, the price he came back with was every bit as competitive as our previous larger broker, but with much better coverage.

In an age obsessed with "buy online", Gates Insurance provides the individual touch, but with modern accessibility to things like auto insurance scannable on your device. I wouldn't have tried Gates unless referred by a friend, but I am glad I took the time to sit down and get the peace of mind that comes with individualized service. Thanks for everything Wade!

-- Daniel d'Entremont
-- Google Review

Gates insurance has been a true partner supporting the growth of our business and have always provided innovative, cost effective products to meet our every changing insurance needs. I strongly recommend them for either your personal and business insurance requirements.

From the most basic inquiry to managing a claim, Gates Insurance has always provided us with attentive and rapidly responsive service for our every need.

Mark Vardy has been able to provide insurance counseling and advice for my company, for myself personally, as well as my clients. Mark is very knowledgeable in his profession and is a pleasure to work with as well. A great community supporter, Mark and Gates Insurance is always supporting the communities’ needs from park beautification projects to a yearly food drive. I am glad to call him a friend and would highly recommend using his services at Gates Insurance.

-- Paul Dixon
-- Safeguard Property Management & Services Inc.

12 years ago, we arrived from the UK to live in Nova Scotia. We were looked for some time for auto and home insurance and then we got lucky and found Gates Insurance Agency Ltd. Gates Insurance epitomizes integrity, energy and hard work in every detail of their business.

We have been a loyal customer for 12 years now. They always take time to explain insurance so that you understand exactly what you are buying and what your options are which, in turn helped us make the best decision that fit our needs.

Customer service and customer satisfaction should be their motto. They certainly deliver those qualities for sure. We therefore intend to remain with them for the foreseeable future. Thank you, Gates Insurance, for that personal touch

-- John & Yvonne Andrews
-- Truro, NS

Our names are Jonathan and Caralee Lloy and we operate Lloyoll Custom Building, a detail oriented and growing family business.

Before meeting Mark and his team at Gates, our impression of the insurance industry was of a nameless and cumbersome entity, required by law and there to be used if things really went wrong. Mark and his team showed us how adaptable the Industry is and what it can do for us under the direction of a Broker who takes the time to truly understand our business and our family.

Our business continues to grow and change but some things stay the same; namely our attention to detail and customer service orientation. We grow with confidence and change with our market knowing that Mark and his Team at Gates Insurance are keeping pace. We appreciate the personal touch Mark and his Team supply. Face to face briefings and updates empower us to make decisions that align with our values and protect our interests.

Thank-You Gates Insurance!

We value your approach to customer service and identify with your business philosophy. You bring Big-Market competitive costing to our Small-Town business.

-- Jonathan & Caralee Lloy
-- Lloyoll Custom Building Limited.

Our Services


Home is the place where you can be yourself. Gates Insurance safeguards your home with great coverage and practical advice. We’re unique in providing a free home inspection to spot hazards that could cause a loss.

Your choice of an insurance broker matters.


When dealing with an independent broker, like Gates Insurance Agency, you’re the client. We work for you, not an insurance company. It’s an important distinction when it comes to a claim. Gates’ staff of insurance navigators are there to provide expert guidance and empathy.

Gates also focuses on loss prevention.


We understand that a home contains memories and sentimental belongings. In fact, your home may be so familiar and comfortable, it can be hard to see potential hazards. This could cause some brokers to deny your insurance claim. Gates free home inspection provides a fresh look at your property, for an added feeling of security.

What else is included in our “big service”? Our time. We handle paperwork that other brokers leave you to complete. We encourage questions. You’re better informed and reassured that Gates is a partner with your best interests in mind.


Gates Insurance is your auto insurance navigator. We take the hassle out of choosing insurance, with clear explanations, sound advice, and the best options to insure your primary vehicle--as well as RVs, motorcycles, or other vehicles you may own.

Check out the Gates Insurance online app. It’s convenient, and it’s just part of the “big service” we offer.

As an independent broker, Gates Insurance has relationships with several major insurance providers. We “shop for insurance” so you don’t have to. Gates’ specialized knowledge means we’ll find the best coverage and value. You save time and frustration looking for comparison quotes.

Insurance policies contain legal wording that can seem confusing. Gates’ staff of insurance navigators explain things clearly. You understand the coverage you’re receiving and what it will do for you.

Gates Insurance works for you, the client (not an insurance company). If you need to make a claim, it means you’ve been through a stressful event. Gates staff of insurance navigators reduce that stress by skillfully guiding you through the claims process.

Our online app is our newest feature. You can also reach us by phone, email, or in person. Our office location is convenient, too, at 28 Kentucky Court, New Minas.


Gates Insurance provides commercial insurance to large and complex companies, small business, farms and non-profits. We’re also a business and understand the challenges affecting companies. Talk “business to business” with Gates Insurance.

As a business owner, you create your own success. Your company thrives largely because of your efforts and those of your employees.

Gates Insurance understands that. We’re an independent broker. We’ve worked hard and have built a solid reputation with our clients in the business community.

For more than two decades, Gates has selected coverage for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes. We also access the latest insurance industry research. That gives us a broad perspective, and insight into the kinds of issues affecting companies.

Innovation and change are constant, because businesses today are impacted by technology and world events. Your insurance coverage needs to anticipate that rapid change. As an independent broker, Gates has relationships with several major insurance providers. This gives us flexibility in the variety of insurance products we can offer.

Secure your thriving business and the effort you’ve put into it. Discuss your coverage needs with Gates Insurance Agency.

Our Partnerships Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Mark Vardy

Chief Navigator

Mark Vardy is the owner of Gates Insurance Agency. Mark began working in the insurance industry in 2002. He joined Gates Insurance in 2004, and purchased the business from founder Paul Gates in 2012. As an insurance broker, Mark feels privileged to assist those who are facing difficult circumstances. He also recognizes that business owners have the ability to help the wider community. He and the Gates staff take part in or support many worthy causes. A yearly food drive and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters golf tournament, are two examples. Mark describes himself as a positive thinker, not letting fear or worry get in the way of life’s adventures. His background includes a year as a Rotary International exchange student, attending school in Germany. He’s since served for 15 years with the New Minas Rotary Club, and is currently Club President. He’s also on the Board of the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, engaged in community projects and economic development. Mark’s greatest satisfaction comes from being a Dad to son Hunter, who lives with his mother in Ontario, and younger children Cohen and Lola. Goldendoodle Kringle is a lively addition to the Vardy household. In his spare time, Mark enjoys music and playing guitar, golfing (not very well) and taking part in those “life adventures” through travel.

Mark Vardy

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Brian Haley

Personal Insurance Navigator

Brian has been an insurance professional since 2002, and began working at Gates Insurance in 2009. For Brian, the customer’s best interests are always top of mind. He triple-checks every policy to ensure that all needed endorsements and coverage are in place. Brian and his wife have three daughters, who, he comments, “thankfully look like their mother”. He’s also a grandpa to four girls and two boys. When not at work, Brian enjoys taking day trips, exploring all that Nova Scotia has to offer.

Brian Haley

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Sharri Russell

Personal Insurance Navigator

Sharri came to Gates Insurance in 2003, but has worked in the insurance industry since 1988. She is a proud mom to two daughters and is also owned by two cats! Sharri understands the necessity of protecting loved ones against unexpected life events. She takes time to educate customers about the value of insurance, so that they can make informed decisions. In her spare time, Sharri is an avid gardener. Expect outstanding service from this “down to earth” insurance professional!

Sharri Russell

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Bonny Sawler

Business Insurance Navigator

Bonny started with Gates Insurance in May 2018 but has worked in the insurance industry since 2009. Her greatest satisfaction comes from meeting and helping all the interesting people who are her customers. Bonny has two adult children who have now left home, but her “nest” is not empty. She’s a “pet parent” to a handsome yellow Lab. When not walking the dog, Bonny reads and gardens.

Bonny Sawler

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Jan Buist

Team Resource Navigator

Since 2016 Jan has kept the Gates Insurance office running smoothly, so that each navigator can fully focus on their clients. Jan enjoys taking part in events like the K-ROCK food drive. She finds it rewarding to see community members reaching out to support each other. When Jan is not at work, she uses her management skills in a busy household that includes two preschool sons.

Jan Buist

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Sarah Kenny

Business Insurance Navigator

Sarah started working with Gates Insurance in 2011 after working for 3 years with Portage Mutual Insurance Company in their Accounts Department. She started working at the Front desk and has worked her way up to a licensed Business Insurance specialist and loves working with our clients. Sarah can be found on a soccer field or hockey rink with one of her 4 sons! When not being a busy mom, she tries to get time in for competitive bowling.

Sarah Kenny

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects Living Art Portraits by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects

Penney Wheaton

Personal Insurance Navigator

Penney first started in the insurance industry in 1995 as a receptionist at a small family brokerage in Ottawa, On and later moved to Calgary AB in hopes of more opportunity. In Calgary she worked for a large international brokerage - Aon Reed Stenhouse and a large international insurer AXA Insurance in their commercial surety departments. Deciding it was time to move back to “the right coast”, she settled down in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in 1999. After starting a family and wanting to provide for them, Insurance was a natural choice to further her career so she started worked for a growing brokerage in Halifax, working in personal lines service to the client for nearly 14 years. She joined the great team at Gates Insurance since 2021 and the family fun atmosphere is fantastic! She really enjoy speaking with clients, helping them learn about and navigate personal home and vehicle insurance! Her spare time is spent visiting with our 3 adult kids! She loves the open road and loves a random road trip with her partner in crime Paul and their 2 Miniature Schnauzer pups - Chester and Ruby, exploring all that Nova Scotia has to offer!

Penney Wheaton

Photos by Jaimie Corbin @ Phantom Effects