Howden, the retail broking arm of Hyperion, announced last month that it was expanding into a new regional office in Bristol.
Insurance Business caught up with the firm’s UK CEO to find out more about the firm’s growth and the strategies that helped drive it.
“In the past two years Howden has made a number of strategic acquisitions in the UK, which have helped to fuel our ambition of building a UK retail business of scale,” Chris Evans, CEO Howden UK, said.
The business now employs over 500 people, manages around £400 million of GWP and, last year, reported revenue of over £60 million.
“We plan to double in size over the next few years and our expansion into Bristol is an important step in achieving this ambition,” Evans said.
“The strong local economy and insurance market in Bristol make it an obvious choice for Howden’s development in the South West region and, in Mark Westgarth [who will head the office], we have attracted an exceptional local leader.”
Moving forward, Howden’s primary focus is on attracting market-leading talent and likeminded businesses so it can deliver specialist solutions to its clients. Clients have become increasingly sophisticated as insurance buyers, Evans said, which has seen demand for specialism and expertise increase significantly in recent years.
In the modern landscape, brokers are often said to be facing a plethora of challenges as the industry undergoes change and faces external pressures. For Evans, the key challenge is continual innovation, “particularly in the use of technology in product distribution and customer support.”
“I hear and read a great deal about new entrant disruptors with new technology but why should new ideas and new innovation be reserved for newcomers to our industry? As an industry, we need to encourage and embrace change and new technology and this applies equally at macro level as it does to individual businesses.”
The upside of the continual change, is that it fuels increased customer demand for professional advice and expertise.
“Last year it was the Insurance Act, this year it is the new FCA rules and next year it will be something else; which makes a continual learning and development programme and investment in skills, capabilities and culture essential for any modern broker,” he said.
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