Introducing Angus Statham, our Regional Development Manager for the South West

Bloghead Angus

Developing and nurturing the right broker relationships is fundamental to our business success, which is why we employ a team of regionally-based business development managers to travel the country meeting brokers and forging stronger partnerships. We’ve been chatting to our latest hire, Angus Statham, about what makes the South West of England a great place to do business, and why it’s important not to make too many assumptions about this richly diverse region…

Tell us about your new role?

I’m responsible for the development of new business within the South West . I’m into my third decade of working in the insurance industry, a large part of which has been focused on broker development across the South West and South Wales, so I already know many of the brokers that’ll I’ll be working with

It was always my desire to be working in the field, while I’ve also benefitted from time spent in-house at broker organisations, helping to improve their relationships with insurers. This has given me a much better insight into the pain-points that can exist on both sides of the relationship, and of course, the best ways to resolve them.

How do you envisage your time being spent?

I like to spend as much time with brokers as possible – usually this will be four days on the road and then one day back at the office for admin and following up on my meetings. Technology has made it far easier to keep working while out of the office – back when I started, I’d be heading out to brokers armed only with a folder and a notepad, before faxing the forms back to head office at the end of each day!

There’s no ‘typical day’ in this role, but it’s important to structure your time. I tend to pick a specific county – for example, Pembrokeshire, or Cornwall – for each day, and focus on maximising the number of brokers I’m able to meet in this area.

What sort of trends are you seeing with your brokers right now?

The internet has made it easier for mainstream customers to find cheaper insurance without too much specific knowledge required, and this has ramped up the pressure on brokers to identify the cheapest quotes. Hence, many face the dual challenge of clients that are concurrently more cost-conscious, while also expecting more in the way of service and added-value.

We see our specialism as a great opportunity for brokers to demonstrate their expertise, their professionalism and their value to clients. We’re talking about vehicles that can’t be insured by just anyone; this allows brokers to have a conversation with clients that is as much about service and underlying resilience (e.g. our Lloyds A-rating) as it is about price.

And what’s the biggest challenge you think you’ll be facing in your new role?

Probably the sheer size of the region and managing my time effectively. If all the brokers could look to move their head offices to Portishead in North Somerset, that would be a great help!

Understanding the region is also key. There are many highly rural areas of the South West where you’ll see wholly different client needs from the bigger cities. Conversely, however, I also know several brokers who have moved out to the South West from London but retained their client bases –it’s a truly diverse region to cater for.

What still surprises you about the industry?

Not a lot these days! This has always been an ever-changing, fast paced industry, with a lot of entrepreneurial characters, and it’s important not to forget this at time when many people are concerned about the level of consolidation within the industry.

While it’s true that there may be fewer brokers than in previous decades, ultimately the industry will continue to perpetuate. For every successful acquisition by a major brokerage firm, there’ll be a budding entrepreneur in a regional office who decides to break out on their own with a more differentiated client offering.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt over the course of your career?

Try to maintain your connections and a good working relationship wherever you can, as despite appearances, it can often feel like quite a small industry. Strive to achieve your goals, but do so with integrity and a good work ethic.

What makes ERS best-placed to succeed in the market right now?

We have a clear strategy and specific products headed by specialists in their field, which gives us clear market differentiation.

And what do you see as the biggest opportunity in the year ahead?

As I can attest to from my time on the road, there’s actually a huge diversity of vehicles out there – from high value sports cars and classics to motorhomes, horseboxes and specialist commercial vehicles. It’s a brilliant time to be working in these specialist motor categories.

The opportunity lies in working with the right brokers for the right risks. But what I’ve found working in the South West is that while you should always start out with a clear plan, you have to be flexible enough to adapt to the unexpected opportunities that come along. I’ve had many conversations with brokers that have begun in one place and ended in quite another. Don’t judge a book by its cover – work closely with each broker to better understand them, and new worlds of opportunity will emerge.

What do you enjoy doing the most outside of working hours?

I have three daughters, a dog, two cats, and a season ticket to Bristol City – that probably says it all! Although, if I’m lucky enough to find some time outside of all that, I might sneak in round a golf.

Finally, if you weren’t in the motor insurance business, what would your dream job be?

A professional golfer – ideally good enough so that I could pick and choose which events to play. For those in the lower ranks I suspect it’s a lot harder than we might imagine. It’s bad enough missing a three foot putt for the cost of a pint, let alone paying for your next month of travel, hotels and entry fees.

Looking for specialist motor insurance?
Find your local Regional Development Manager here.

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