Gauntlet, the Leeds-based commercial insurance broker and appointed representative network principal, has entered 2020 celebrating 25 years of trading and anticipating dynamic developments for the 12 months ahead, with some influenced by market consolidation, and others by climate change.
The business, founded by managing director Roger Gaunt, initially as a bus and coach insurance specialist, now covers the spectrum of commercial insurances and is becoming increasingly diverse as its AR network grows.
The network is attracting high-calibre talent and entrepreneurs, sometimes focused on generic commercial insurance product sales but, increasingly, on specific niches.
The latest case in point is Nick James, who has over 40 years’ experience, working as an insurance broker internationally, as well as in the UK. His technical expertise is coupled with an in-depth knowledge of the technology business sector, acquired over the past 10 years working as a board level consultant with three different software businesses.
Having gained a deep understanding of the risk exposures faced by tech business owners, Nick contacted Gauntlet to ask for help finding specialist insurers willing to work with him, to offer bespoke insurance and risk management solutions. As a result, ProBizz Tech Insurance Brokers was launched just six weeks after that first introduction to the Gauntlet network.
Gauntlet’s AR team provides a full range of FCA-compliant broking and back office services, freeing ProBizz to concentrate on front-end services, advice and guidance to clients. Gauntlet’s excellent insurer relationships, together with access to the Willis Towers Watson’s insurer network, allow allows ProBizz to tap into the global expertise of the Willis Technology, Media and Telecommunications division.
“Niche is definitely becoming the word within the Gauntlet Enterprise network” says Roger Gaunt. “Our network now boasts specialists in areas as diverse as equine and mergers and acquisitions insurance, which is testimony to our hard work and dedication to supporting such niche areas, and our skill in matching insurers to risks. Niche broker recruitment is becoming a regular occurrence and we also have many prospective ARs, who just need some time to pull their niche proposition together.”
A sizeable expansion of the network is expected as the network goes through its 11th year, and Gauntlet through its 25th. Reasons for this will be a huge investment in IT and software solutions, plus a focus on greener ways of conducting business.
Climate change considerations are already leading some account executives to pick up the phone and discuss a possible future as a broker running their own business. Consolidation and the merging of offices – as has been the case with the Marsh business following the Jelf and Bluefin merger – is forcing some talented executives to travel 2 or 3 hours a day, because of job relocation, or to a new job that had to be quickly found after redundancy.
Clocking up the carbon emissions, as well as the miles, is encouraging some to think how much greener and less stressful life would be, if they worked from home, or just down the road. With Gauntlet’s systems, they could work anywhere in the world and still have full access to client files and the back-office team.
Roger Gaunt says: “Our 25th year is shaping up to be a really dynamic one, with lots more news to come. We are delighted with the calibre of AR we are attracting and have formed a new management team over the last year, which includes ex-Towergate director, Andy Parkin. This has brought a fresh approach to our systems and ways of working. LS14 6UF – or a location somewhere on our network map – are the places to be, if you wish to be challenged, work hard and be rewarded for your efforts.”