Louis Hobson: Foregoing Pro Football for a Career in Insurance


This is part of Northern Notables, a collection of interviews with NSS Alumni who have made an impact in their personal and professional lives. In the first year of the pandemic, Hobson took the time to pen an inspiring Message To the 2020 NSS Graduating Class. An excerpt of it is at the end of this article.

by Sam Laskaris

Louis Hobson’s introduction to football was far from a pleasant experience. As a Grade 9 student at Northern Secondary School, Hobson, who wore glasses while playing sports, had his eyewear break early in the season during team practice. Feeling defeated, Hobson handed in his equipment before ever playing a game – believing his football career was over.
How wrong he was.

Hobson, who graduated from Northern in 1999, decided to give the gridiron game another shot in Grade 10, this time while sporting contacts instead of glasses. But that experience wasn’t so great either. "I was a wide receiver and I couldn’t catch anything," he said. Yet he decided to stick with it.

"Between 10th and 11th grade I probably grew four inches and put on 20 pounds," Hobson said. He became a defensive lineman during his senior years at Northern and he started excelling in the sport. In fact, Hobson progressed to the point that he was offered and accepted an athletic scholarship to play football with California’s Stanford University Cardinal.
Interview continues below
Hobson during his collegiate years playing with Stanford Cardinal. Images © David Gonzalez / Stanford Athletics
After his first season redshirting with the Cardinal program, Hobson returned each of the next three seasons, seeing a good deal of action on the field. He continued to impress and was selected in the 2003 Canadian Football League draft, in the second round, 16th over-all, by the Ottawa Renegades. Hobson decided against a pro football career, however – hanging up his cleats after his collegiate days. “It didn’t make sense to me economically,” he said. “I was offered more money to do a consulting job.” 

Soon after, Hobson accepted a position with Boston Consulting Group – a move that took him to Chicago. He's never left.  
Louis Hobson, big thinker in the flood insurance space
Now employed as Senior Vice President of Flood Insurance for Chubb, he works in conjunction with the company’s personal and commercial lines of business, leading Chubb’s efforts to offer flood coverage throughout North America.
In a 2019 statement addressing his new team at Chubb, Hobson said: "Better education about the associated risks and the need to have the right protection in place is paramount. There is an enormous opportunity to increase the adoption of flood insurance and I will focus on working with our broker and agent partners to increase over-all awareness about this type of exposure and the Chubb solutions available to help their clients ensure the right protections are in place.”
"Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster. Everyone is susceptible to flooding."
–  Louis Hobson
When possible, Hobson keeps tabs on the Northern football program, sometimes via former teammates. And he looks back fondly at his own career, both at the high school and collegiate levels: "I did not foresee it all," he said. "It was a fun experience."
While at Stanford he was able to play against a number of players who graduated to the National Football League including running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Carson Palmer. Bush, who played at the University of Southern California (USC), went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL. Palmer, who also toiled at USC, spent 14 years in the NFL. As for Hobson, one of his career highlights was playing in the 2000 Rose Bowl. Hobson and his teammates lost 17-9 by the Wisconsin Badgers that New Year’s Day, but what a thrill to have millions of football fans watch as the two teams toiled for downs in Pasadena, California. For a kid who almost quit in Grade 9, Louis Hobson's story is a great reminder of how the decision to keep pushing can transform your life.
During the pandemic, Hobson took the time to pen a Message To the 2020 NSS Graduating Class. Here is an excerpt from it:
"The world needs you. We need your discerning, critical thinking. We need your strong, courageous and intelligent leadership. We need your undiscouraged persistence. We need your unyielding pursuit of what’s just and fair and right.

"There is a forgivable temptation to evaluate your pending contributions to society through the lens of your to-be professional vocations. It is natural.

"However, if we are to solve the current and prevailing challenges, it’s so very important, now more than ever, to excel in the common, civic vocations we all hold. Before and above all else, we are citizens in the communities we live and members of families, both large and small, which span generations. When inevitably confronted with consequential decisions, affecting both your communities and your families, make moral choices, the ones that withstand the test of time.

"Make no mistake, these are difficult times. These times feel different because these times are different. Yet I’ve never been more optimistic about our collective futures because of the role you’ll play in it. So go out and have the audacity to think you can make a meaningful, lasting difference, then hold an unwavering commitment and belief to prove yourself right.


Interviewer, Sam Laskaris, is a Toronto-based freelance writer and joined the NSSF board in early 2021. His wife Kathryn (Defries) and their two sons, Michael and Adam, are Northern alumni. Sam has been a long-time supporter of Northern where his sons were key contributors to the school’s drama and athletic programs.