What core business lines does your brokerage cover?
Broadly we are approximately 70% commercial and 30% personal lines, we have very strong accounts in the motor trade and hospitality sectors and would regard these as specialist niche sectors.
How have you found business in these unprecedented times?
We’ve taken a bit of a hit, we’re about 9% down – but it’s not entirely down to Covid; we’ve experienced a couple of clients selling their businesses to much larger companies in the last six weeks and their renewals have not been there. Some of the motor trade stuff, particularly on the road risks side, has fallen off and has come back very quickly as soon as the client has the first deal in place.
Those with garage premises have assets to protect and our work with them has continued unaffected – although remotely. Same goes for the hospitality sector too – although it’s a concern as to how they will continue to operate their businesses going forward in that sector.
What is your current setup, are you and your staff in the office, remote working or a combination of both?
Yep it’s a combination – we are rotating staff working in the office, our staff that are in the office teams are working one day on and two days off regardless of their contracted hours, these are supported by a team of people working from home. If it wasn’t that we needed envelopes opening and sealing and cheques banking, we could all work pretty much from home.
What positives - or new ways of working - have you taken from the pandemic period?
Like most people, pandemic did not form part of our Disaster Recovery Plan, the writing was on the wall in February and we made sure we were geared up with IT capability, checking who would be able to work from home, making sure we were prepared for the prospect of having to close the office if anyone contracted the virus (although the staff rotation helped with creating some resilience to this) and educating staff how to communicate more efficiently with senior colleagues where referrals are required on Binders or DUA’s.
What is your current business focus?
New business, renewal strategy, marketing. The core focus at the moment is clearly renewals, getting renewals out early has led to clients renewing earlier. We are also surprised how many new enquiries we have received on the commercial side over the last few weeks, mainly from small businesses – nonetheless very encouraging. We’ve maintained our multi-channel marketing approach with our ongoing WEO and SEO programmes, social media marketing and cross selling. We also have ongoing loyalty programmes – one with a holiday resort in the UK and another with a Health and Wellbeing centre.
Which Blink products or services have been/are most beneficial to your business?
ABACUS, Markerstudy and Blink Breakdown are our standard Blink fare and continue to develop and grow; we have had some success lately with Aptus on a decent-sized scaffolding risk which falls well in that difficult-to-place category.
If there’s one thing we’d like from Blink…
It’s Richard’s sellotaped together spreadsheets – those were fun days – can I say that? No, a decent solution to Young Driver insurance, where we retain control of the client.