Blink Insider
Barry Brook

26th January 2021

Blink Insider kicks off the new year with a well-known face, Barry Brook, Director of ABACUS (a trading style of Alan Blunden & Co Limited). Barry shares insights into his role and responsibilities, why he chose the insurance industry as a profession and his love for fishing rather than football.

In a short sentence, tell us what you do in your current role?
As Director of ABACUS, I have all the usual responsibilities of running a business. More specifically relating to our brokers, my responsibilities are:

  1. insurer relationships
  2. maintaining the online quote system
  3. insurer rating that we use on the systems
  4. overseeing underwriting of the referral quotes
  5. you know the analogy where the duck swims smoothly and gracefully upstream on the river, but its feet are going ten to the dozen under the surface – I’m the feet!

Did you choose the insurance profession, or did it choose you?
I’d love to say I always wanted to do insurance, but no, I wanted to be a fireman and when I left college needed a job, took the first office job offered and 40 years later I am still here in insurance.

What is something that people are obsessed with, but you just don’t get?
Can I say Steve Horner saying the wrong word, then when you correct him he says “got you”? He is obsessed with it, ha-ha.

Realistically – probably the biggest thing I can think of is football, and I know I will not be very popular with most of you for saying that. Don’t get me wrong, I do watch football on rare occasions, and I do like it when I do. I don’t understand how people become so attached to their team, every weekend going to matches sometimes half way round the country.

As for the people, and I’m sorry if you’re one of them, that can tell you what the score was in a match between say Arsenal and Chelsea in 1973 and who scored – very clever, but why would you even want to remember that. I suspect many of you may say “why would you be so keen to go fishing rather than football?”– haven’t really got an answer, I just do.

What is your biggest frustration with modern technology?
Modern technology, that’s for younger people – isn’t it? What’s wrong with the old manual accounts we used to do 30 years ago with a bit of carbon between the reports so we had a copy?

Seriously, we couldn’t now run our business and maintain our service levels without technology, but  whatever is the must have requirement this year is old and not used anymore in two years and needs replacing with a super new replacement, find that very frustrating. Also my children are far better than me at it.

What do you do when you’re not working?
My main relaxation from work would be sea fishing on a boat, failing that fishing on a beach/pier, then freshwater fishing and fly fishing. Play golf if I am really forced to.

What was the last book you read, or movie/box set you watched?
Don’t read anywhere as much as I should, but my favourite book - not unsurprisingly - is fishing related, Old Man and the Sea by George Hemmingway. Favourite TV comedies are Only Fools and Horses and Dad’s Army

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide what music to listen to?
As for “go to” music, can’t list one as I have several, which are:

  • The Who
  • Queen
  • Michael Bublé
  • Rod Stewart

Past or present, which five guests would you invite to your dream dinner party?
People I’d like to invite to my dream party – that’s actually quite hard to choose, so many to opt for – if you ask me next month would probably be completely different but, for now, I’d choose:

  1. My dad, died many years ago when I was in my teens. He was a true on the road sales person and would be a great conversationalist
  2. Lee Mac, to add some humour as find him hilarious
  3. Andrew Dibden, my best friend since school because he is like my brother
  4. Sean Connery, best James Bond ever although some may disagree
  5. Kirsty Brundle, my other half, because If I missed her off I’d be in real trouble

What is on your bucket list?
Bucket list, bit tricky at present as not allowed out at all:

  • Catch a fish bigger than Mike Pinners (ex Amtrust Financial Advisor), best fish both Halibut -his was 149.5lb mine was 148.5lb
  • Catch a salmon (still fishing)

Finally, why is it a great time for brokers to consider a conversation with ABACUS?

  • ABACUS Service Levels – COVID-19 what a nightmare, not for our brokers though. During all the issues over the last year we have had very little disruption, if any, in our services. We have had praise from many brokers that they had not even noticed a change. Yes we do have the majority of our staff working from home but the systems we have in place enable them to work from home and not affect the service to our broker partners
  • Instant quotations available on the ABACUS system 24 hours of the day (should the broker want to work 24 hours of the day)
  • Multi quotations are provided on the system with up to five different insurers, providing a market comparison for the broker with only the one presentation
  • Instant on-cover documentation available on our system


Full underwriting terms and conditions apply, please ensure that all of the contractual documentation is read and understood prior to use. This facility is marketed and distributed by Blink Intermediary Solutions. This facility is provided by ABACUS (Alan Blunden & Company Underwriting Schemes) which is a division of Alan Blunden & Co Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 309694 and underwritten by a panel of insurers.

Access to this facility is subject to approval by the product provider only. Blink Intermediary Solutions is not part of the approval process and is not the product manufacturer. Some products/facilities are not available in all territories. The intended recipients of this content are UK FCA-regulated insurance brokers. Full details of FCA authorisations can be found at This information is correct at the time of production, but may be subject to change.

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