This month marks the first anniversary of Wilby Insurance Brokers becoming part of PIB Group. Here managing director Richard Blackburn (pictured) looks back at what he described as a very positive year for the independent Chartered Insurance Broker.
The charitable boss also shares with Insurance Business his vision, and what he believes will keep their service and advice invaluable to clients.
How did your insurance career begin?
In 1986 I joined Sutcliffe Mitchell Insurance Brokers in Halifax as a trainee insurance broker. Back then motor premiums were calculated from motor underwriting guides, cover notes handwritten, and green cards were required to use vehicles abroad (it’s amazing how we’ve nearly gone full circle with green cards being required again!).
As managing director of Wilby, what do you envision for the independent insurance broker?
It’s crucial that despite increasing regulation and consolidation in the market that the customer remains at the forefront of everything we do.
An independent broker’s relationships are the key both with clients and with insurers. To continue to succeed we must continue to provide added-value advice and services beyond just the placement of the insurances to clients, and demonstrate increased professionalism to ensure that our service and advice remains invaluable.
Increasing use of technology to deliver our services to clients will ensure we continue to remain relevant to clients.
What has changed since the business was acquired by PIB Group?
It’s been a very positive year, and PIB supports our people and our existing brand. They knew they were investing in a broker that was already performing well but since then, their investment has already pushed us to the next level and we have exciting plans to continue to grow the Wilby business as part of PIB Group.
From a client perspective we’re now able to offer a much wider range of services. While we offered clients risk management services previously, the offering from PIB’s Risk Management team is significant in responding to a client’s risk management and health and safety needs which is backed up by a fantastic, easy-to-use online system.
We have also been successful in collaborating with the PIB Employee Benefits team and other businesses across the group to help us secure new clients.
For our people, the acquisition has also opened up new career opportunities as we have moved from a company of 80 to one that employs over 1,100.
In your years in the industry, what do you consider as the most significant changes?
The biggest change is undoubtedly the technological changes we have seen. We’ve come a long way from using the motor rating guides to calculate premiums, and as an industry I’m sure the next few years will see even more change as we have still a long way to catch up with other sectors.
The regulatory changes over the past decade have had a huge impact on the industry. I would say these have been for the better and we are definitely a more professional industry than we were 30 years ago.
If you were to leave insurance for another sector, which one and why?
I would have loved to be a professional golfer, although I’m not sure my game would be up to it! The idea of travelling the world and playing the best golf courses sounds very appealing.
Name one thing your peers probably don’t know about you.
I’m a keen cyclist and a massive Huddersfield Town fan (not that we’ve had much to shout about this season!)
Once a year I join 150 or so other cyclists to take part in ‘Pedal for Pounds’ – raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the Huddersfield Town Foundation, and other great local charities. This year is the 10th anniversary; we’re cycling 313 miles from Bruges to Huddersfield and the target is to pass the £2 million total this year.