2016 – The year in review
2016 has been another wonderful year for Alan Boswell Group, with awards, acquisitions and record-breaking activity. Here’s a quick round-up of what happened over the past 12 months.
Independent Insurance Broker of the Year
2016 got off to a flying start, having been crowned ‘Independent Insurance Broker of the Year’ at the annual Insurance Times awards at the close of 2015.
The result was the reward for a strong 2015, recognising our efforts in developing a new scheme for boat insurance, our continued success in training and developing our staff – including our award winning apprentice scheme – our dedication to customer service and our corporate social responsibility.
A record-breaking haul
Our chosen Charity of the Year was Big-C, a cancer charity based in Norfolk. We’ve supported them for a number of years, but in 2016 we challenged all our employees to raise £100 each for them – and boy did they step up!
We’ve seen hair-shaving, conker tournaments, obstacle races and bike rides, cake sales, abseiling, skydiving and running.
At the time of writing, we had raised a staggering £27,665 and there may well be a few more pounds to come. We’ll announce the final figure in the new year, but rest assured it is a record-breaking total and one we’re unlikely to beat for a long time.
If you’d like to contribute to our fundraising efforts, visit our JustGiving page.
In May, we had our first 100% rating for customer service. Every customer who reviewed our service standards on Feefo gave us either a four or five-star rating. We then went on to repeat the achievement in September. In fact, we have received 1,179 reviews so far this year and just 18 of them have given us three stars or fewer.
This high standard was acknowledged by Feefo with the award of Gold Trusted Merchant status. You can read our customer reviews here.
At the middle of the year, we saw a sudden upswing in companies looking for help organising their auto-enrolment schemes.
The deadline for companies to meet their obligations is rapidly approaching (in 2018) and this year it became obvious that self-service was not a realistic option for many small businesses. By the end of the year, our financial services team will have helped over 430 companies and 12,000 employees with their pensions.
While on the subject of financial services, it’s also worth noting that there has been some consolidation in the market with smaller financial planners being bought up by larger, national, players. In some cases, this has led to an increase in ‘restricted advice’ – where companies can only provide information about products provided by their parent company.
We wrote a handy guide of five things to consider when choosing a financial adviser that might be worth a read if you’re looking for independent financial advice.
In September we unveiled our new website. The main reason behind the shift was that the old site wasn’t mobile-friendly. With more people using their phones to search and get in touch, we felt it was vital that we deliver an improved site across devices.
The new look has been extremely well received, but we’re not finished yet. We’re currently working on a knowledge bank to give you the best advice on managing risks, finding appropriate insurance and what to do in the case of an emergency.
A month after the new site launched, we published our new magazine, Telegraph, sending it to every one of our 50,000+ clients. Filled with company and industry news it also featured client case studies and plenty of articles for commercial clients, landlords, personal lines and financial services. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here.
Number 1 landlord insurance provider
Out of the blue, we stumbled across this news article by Bought by Many, who had independently chosen us as the no.1 provider of landlord insurance in the UK. Their panel recognised the quality of our products, the high service scores awarded by our clients, our Broker of the Year status and our continual success at the Landlord & Lettings Awards.
We’re pleased to pick up these types of recognition, but we’re far more focused on making sure our products and services reflect our passion for providing expert recommendations in a friendly and knowledgeable way.
A major announcement
Last month we announced the acquisition of Cambridge-based insurance broker S-Tech. Both companies have a similar history, forming in 1982 and growing organically over the past 30+ years.
While S-Tech is a general broker providing insurance services to both commercial and personal lines, it has a number of specialisms, including scientific and technical services, credit insurance and museums.
This acquisition has likely seen our group move into the top 15 of independent insurance brokers in the UK.
We’re bound to have plenty more good news to report in 2017 as we continue to focus on our client needs. Our vision is to become the natural choice for friendly, expert advice on insurance and financial services and we’re hoping we can push this closer to reality with additional services aimed at offering you even more reasons to work with us.
We’ll continue to pursue excellence in the insurance industry, maintaining our chartered status and making a positive contribution to the communities in which we work.
Happy new year everyone!