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“Bad service is shared.”

“Bad service is shared.”

“Bad service is shared.” There may have been a general surge towards direct insurers and comparison websites over the last decade or so… but one group of customers has remained as loyal to their insurance brokers as ever. At least, as long as they’re happy with the service they’re getting.

That group, of course, is farmers – with Paul Graham, operations director of H&H Insurance Brokers, an agricultural insurance specialist based in Carlisle, knowing all about the importance of keeping his clients happy.

“Farmers are very time poor, due to the commitments of their own businesses,” he said in an exclusive interview with Insurance Business UK. “There is also a greater degree of seasonality within our business due to the nature of farming. We also find farmers are more demanding when it comes to the value they obtain from brokers, be that in the amount of premium they want to pay but also extending to what they want us to do for them: quite often execs will tell me that they have completed application forms for the farmer during their visits.

“Farmers have a reputation for sharing their experiences - so we are always mindful of the old analogy that bad service is shared with 10-12 other people. As a result, we make sure that we give great service so that is shared with many people.”

H&H Insurance Brokers was formed in 1987 by its parent company Harrison & Hetherington, a traditional agricultural auctioneers and livestock market business. The business was set up to serve farming customers and quickly developed into a specialist agricultural broker. As Paul Graham explains, the company didn’t choose agriculture – agriculture chose the company.

“The specialism came about with how the company was formed and the natural client base we deal with,” he said. “We have continued to grow by expanding our client base both geographically and by growing our client base from farmers to other business connected to the agricultural industry.”

With close to 30 years having passed since the company was set up, however, Graham can reflect on the reasons why the firm has not only survived but thrived – and he believes that the personal service his brokers offer has been absolutely crucial.

“When planning for visits execs include time to chat and catch up on what’s happened over the past year,” he said. “They plan their days around the food farmers’ wives will prepare for them. I’ve heard stories of execs spending over an hour just on tea and cake - but that’s important to our clients. Farmers also enjoy their visit from our execs as it gives them a chance to find out more about what's happening in their local area.”

The personal service could be seen as part and parcel of any broker’s offering , however – so what separates H&H from the competition?

“The H&H brand is well known within the farming world in the north of the UK, especially in livestock farming,” he said. “No question that brand is a big pull for clients. We also believe we win new business because we understand our clients, are attentive to their needs and can be flexible in our support to them.”

H&H Insurance Brokers was named among the top UK Speciality Brokers in the UK. You can view the full list of specialists in different categories here.

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