[T]his November marks the 30th anniversary of one of the UK’s most respected independent Insurance Brokers, H&H Insurance Brokers. The company is a subsidiary of the Carlisle based H&H Group, whose heritage in livestock auctioneering dates back to 1877 when Richard Harrison opened a livestock auction in Carlisle.
H&H Insurance Brokers was launched in 1987 specifically to provide additional services to the parent company’s auction mart farmer clients. Since this time the business has steadily grown, and today it is one of the UK’s leading rural and farm insurance provider.
In giving background to the company’s history, and looking forward to its future, Brian Richardson, Chief Executive said: “Over the years the insurance industry has had to become more specialised and adapt itself to the ever-changing marketplace, and regulatory background for insurance. As a company, it has always had a clear focus on the farming sector, building on the natural synergy with Harrison & Hetherington’s customer base, and the understanding this has given us of agriculture.
“Backed by the H&H Group, we have continued to invest in systems and people to make sure we can deliver the very best service to back up our insurance product offering.”
H&H Insurance Brokers employ over 30 members of staff across its offices in Carlisle, Durham, the Scottish Borders and North Wales. From the latest apprentices learning the business, to the nine members of staff who have worked for the company for over 10 years, there is great spread of knowledge, experience and commitment within the team. In addition the company works with its network of insurers to provide the most appropriate and cost effective products to clients.
Brian adds: “Customer service is at the very centre of H&H Insurance Brokers and this is what I truly believe differentiates us. This is substantiated by Feefo customer feedback service, and since joining them a few years ago we have received gold status on feedback and an average score of 4.6. Our experience of the insurance sector, coupled with our focus on customer service, has allowed us to grow. Our aim now is to increase the speed of that growth in the future.”
Claims are a very important part of the insurance industry and this is something which H&H Insurance Brokers monitor very closely; 98% of all claims dealt with by the company are paid. It has further reinforced this important area by appointing a dedicated senior claims manager specifically to oversee claims on behalf of clients.
Philip Pagin, Rural Sales Manager, is the company’s longest serving member of staff, having been with the business since 1994. During his time, he has seen many changes: “Since I joined the company there has been a steady evolution of the business in terms of a growing customer base and expanding geographical coverage. But the core focus of offering value for money products and working closely with our clients has never altered. Of course we now have to be more conscious about regulation and compliance, however, the size of the business means that we have the capability to handle this legislation and make sure the customer understands what they need to know.
“I enjoy my job hugely and love working with clients, many of whom I have been visiting for almost 30 years. Equally rewarding are meetings with new clients who have just asked us for a price. Since I started with H&H Insurance Brokers, there have been so many developments within the farming industry that now all need to be taken into account. Twenty two years ago who would have thought about cyber-crime, quad bike, turbine, working dog, alpaca or llama cover?
“As an insurance broker our job is to ensure that customers are properly insured should the worst happen. I am constantly surprised how infrequently farmers take the chance to properly review their insurance, not just to see what savings can be made, but just to check that they have the correct cover for their business. More often than not, we can not only demonstrate considerable saving for them against their historic provider, we can also usually improve their cover.”
As well as farm insurance, a commercial department has been created within the business headed up by Stephen Ward. This is growing very quickly, focusing on SME business in Cumbria. A further focus has been livestock insurance for pedigree stock sold through the mart, through the ‘in-Livestock’ brand.
Whilst 30 years is a significant milestone, it’s very much business as usual with staff focused on delivering service and value to farmers and businesses across the north of England and Southern Scotland.
Someone who can certainly confirm this is Natalie Carr one of the original members of staff who has just been returned to work for HHIB as a senior account handler. “I am thoroughly enjoying my new role and on returning after 22 years, I was delighted to see many familiar faces and that as a company we continue to offer the very same exacting standards of service as we always have.”