There’s been plenty of talk about retail closures over the last year or so, with many traditional businesses either going online-only, being taken over or simply going to the wall. The insurance broking sector has been particularly badly hit by this unwanted development and it has left Yorkshire’s communities the poorer for not having the range of independent insurance brokers it once did.
In Hull, for example, there are now just a handful of brokers left to serve the 260,000 strong population, and when it comes to independent brokers that number comes down to just 4. The demise of the sector may seem trivial, unimportant even, but leaving communities without an honest, independent broker matters. Why? Well, allow me to explain…
Getting the right insurance matters
Insurance may not be exciting or glamorous, but when it comes to protecting your home, your possessions and even yourself, it really matters. From legal requirements such as having motor insurance or employers’ liability insurance to essentials such as life and home insurance, there are elements of everyone’s life where insurance is needed.
Now much of this you can buy online, but what happens if you need some insurance advice? Is a price comparison site going to advise you whether you should have an any-driver policy or tell you that as a tradesman working for a local authority that you need to have public liability cover in place? No, they will give you the bald facts and prices but they won’t give you the expert insurance advice that a broker can offer. By taking the time to talk to you and getting to know your circumstances they can get you the cover they know you need, not just the cover that you think you need.
This lack of an available advice-based service is already causing issues for customers. Take property insurance; did you know that around 80% of commercial properties are now thought to be underinsured? Or that 1 in 5 homes are underinsured? For those affected by this, the consequences can be devastating if they need to make a claim – especially as insurers can reduce pay outs if they believe a property is underinsured. Any broker worth their salt would help ensure that you don’t fall into traps such as these.
Saving money on insurance quotes matters
No one wants to pay more for their insurance than they have to; let’s face it, there are more exciting things to spend it on. Price comparison sites are great for giving you a quick headline number but you often have to spend time drilling into the detail to see that the covers you are comparing aren’t quite the same and that key elements – such as the level of excess on a policy – or whether a policy covers you for business activity need to be carefully checked.
Now not only is this time consuming, you’ll also only be offered policies that the site in question has access to. Insurers have to pay to be on them and while they may be happy to do so for things like car insurance they probably won’t want to or may not even be able to for some complex business policies such as professional indemnity insurance or commercial combined. This means you’ll only be offered some of the protection you may need by only some of the available providers. An independent broker, especially one the size of Coversure will have access to a huge range of policies, many of which are unavailable to the public. So, if you want to save money and time on getting the protection you need, your first port of call should probably be a broker.
While the insurance broker sector as a whole has retreated from the high street in recent years, Hull has now lost offices from big name brokers such as Swintons for instance, the loss of independent brokers has been even more severe. There are now just 4 independents left in Hull; Coversure Hull, Wilberforce, Hedon and Hinks. Over the past 15 years or so, many of the local household names have either gone or been acquired and even in the last year or two, The Insurance Partnership were acquired by Jelf who were subsequently taken over by American giant Marsh along with Bluefin, Hendersons were acquired by another American giant AON and Kennetts taken by Willis of Ireland.
This loss of independent brokers is worrying. Independents are not only free to scour the market to find customers the right cover at the right price, they can also specialise to serve the community’s needs. Take us for example. Being a Hull insurance broker, we’ve become specialists in commercial and business insurance and have particular knowledge of the marine, truck and fleet sectors that the area is so known for.
Supporting the local businesses matters
As well as providing a service to customers, businesses such as ours also generate business for the local economy. As independent brokers have closed elsewhere so our client base has become national, allowing us to bring money into the area. We’re also a provider of high-quality jobs. The insurance industry is worth over £40 billion to the UK economy and the training and skills we provide to our team of 9 include Certificate in Insurance (Cert CII) and Diploma in Insurance (Dip CII) qualifications for those who wish to take them. This means that our team can, like me, make insurance their career for life, which in the uncertain times we’re living in is something to be thankful for.
Supporting local communities matters
To us, Hull is more than just a place of business; it’s our community and a place we’re proud to call home. Coversure as a group was founded in order to serve the community’s needs and independent businesses like ours have been the backbone of those communities for years. I’m happy to say that thanks to their support we’ve thrived and we’ll be here in another fifteen years as we’re committed to our area as a proudly independent Yorkshire business.
Like Some Independent Insurance Help?
If you would like to know more about saving on your insurance cover or would like some help getting the insurance that’s right for you, then please contact us. You can call us on 01482 43 43 43 or email us by clicking here.
(Proud) Founder of Coversure Hull