Many across the insurance profession have been shocked and saddened to hear that one of the stalwarts of this industry – Sandy Dunn (pictured) – has passed away suddenly, after a brief illness.
His long-term colleague and friend Penny Searles penned an obituary for the well-known and respected industry figure, which noted that Dunn started his insurance career at Eagle Star in his native Scotland, and moved with his young family around the country wherever the job took him. She highlighted that he was always interested in innovation, which led him to set up one of the UK’s first direct players, Eagle Star Direct, over 30 years ago.
He settled for good in Southampton where he went on to launch Gan Minster’s direct arm, Touchline, in rival city Portsmouth. Ever the entrepreneur, Searles said, in 1998 he joined up with two colleagues and left the security of the corporate world to acquire R A Rossborough, a Jersey-based insurance broker operating out of the UK. This was renamed BDML Connect and Dunn took the helm as managing director.
The BDML Group also consisted of Sabre Insurance, acquired from Aviva in 2002, and Ultimate Insurance Solutions. Then in 2005, the BDML Group sold its broking business, BDML Connect, to Capita Insurance Services Group. Sandy Dunn remained with the company as its chairman and chief executive until 2010.
While others would have taken that opportunity for early retirement, Searles wrote, Dunn relished helping others to succeed and did so by taking on board positions at Markerstudy, IGO4, Swinton, Call Connection and Supercover. He loved to take a risk, she said, and, in 2008, found himself once again at the front line of innovation as a founder of the UK’s first telematics motor broker and data management business, Wunelli. In 2014, Wunelli was successfully sold to LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
In her tribute to him, Searles said she has known Sandy Dunn for over 20 years and that she and Paul Stacy both had “the most amazing” experience working with him building and growing Wunelli. She emphasised how his continued daily guidance after that sale had massively contributed to all that has followed for her since.
“Sandy was just so generous with his time and knowledge he was always prepared to listen and I saw him offer encouragement, advice and support to countless people over the years,” she said. “He was professional and honourable and I am utterly heartbroken that he is no longer with us. We also had huge fun together, he made work interesting and exciting and I will miss him.”
It is a sentiment shared by many across the profession, who have commented on Sandy Dunn being a true gentleman, a pioneer and a legend.
Any friends or colleagues that wish to attend the funeral can contact Penny Searles for details via LinkedIn.