Member of the Month: Liam Wyatt, Lansdowne Woodward
Lansdowne Woodward joined Compass just over two years ago, and Director, Liam Wyatt, says becoming part of the Network has allowed the brokerage to extend their insurer relations beyond their previous providers.
Liam joined Dorset-based broker Lansdowne Woodward three years ago, and after a conversation with Network BDM, Paul Wallace, he felt compelled that the brokerage should become a Compass Member.
He explains, “Being fiercely independent, the reason why we weren’t sure about joining a Network previously was we thought they would tell us where to place risks or insist we move business. But that hasn’t been the case with Compass at all. At no stage has there been any pressure to move business or has anyone told us what to do. We haven’t lost any of our independence. Being part of Compass has been an added tool; if we have a complex risk, we can bounce it off our BDM, who then provides us with some options, but the decisions are all ours.
“I have to shout out our BDM, Paul. He’s been fantastic for us. Whenever I’ve got any questions, or anything needs doing, he’s always at the end of a phone. Having a dedicated BDM who you can turn to makes a huge difference.”
Liam says his role at Lansdowne Woodward has been to freshen things up by bringing new business in and building insurer relations. He told us the new business landscape has been a “mixed bag” over the last 12 months, as many hospitality businesses on the South Coast have been some of the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they have been able to grow their construction book as a result of active property developers in the area, with the Network helping them to place incoming risks, which Liam says has kept the team going over the past year.
“Being part of Compass has proven to be really useful for me, as they are able to facilitate insurer relations,” says Liam. “Financially, it has been a no brainer. Being a Member has allowed us to open doors with insurers that we probably wouldn’t cross paths with normally.
“In the past year, the insurer we’ve grown our account with the most is Ageas. We barely traded with them prior to joining Compass. It was only because our BDM, Paul, introduced us to their team that we started placing business via them. Ageas have been fantastic for us; they had big role in our business last year and are a significant part our plans for the next year.
“Without the relationship the Compass team have with their insurer partners, I don’t think that it would have happened at all. Ageas have become one of our go-to insurers.”
Liam adds, “We’ve got back in touch with Arch recently as well, thanks to Compass. We used to work with them when they were Arista but hadn’t traded with them for a while. Paul was able to reintroduce us to Arch and, as result, we’re starting to do a lot more with them, especially on the property side of things.
“Also, our London placements weren’t particularly strategic, and we were using a number of different Lloyd’s brokers. So, to be able to build a connection with Compass London Markets and focus our business through one London Markets avenue has been attractive.”
Lansdowne Woodward Insurance Brokers was formed in 2003, following the merger of Lansdowne Insurance Brokers and Peter Woodward Insurance Brokers.
Liam continues, “The business had been growing organically at a fairly steadily rate for the past seven years. In fact, we’ve gone from being a small business to become one of the largest independent brokers in Dorset. We want to grow our GWP by 7.5% in 2021 and I have confidence being part of Compass will unlock opportunities to allow us to reach our goals.”
Liam told us that Lansdowne Woodward has also benefited from the events that the Network hosts, as well as handy information packs that Members have been sent during the pandemic. He says, “The COVID and financial support packs and guidance have been great – we’ve been using them on our social media and websites. It’s another added value.
“I’ve also really loved the roadshows over the last couple of years; sitting with other brokers and hearing who they’re placing business with and which underwriters are helping them is valuable. When you hear it from another broker, it solidifies it.”
While our events have turned virtual during COVID, Liam believes it has still been beneficial to connect with fellow Members. “It’s nice because you’re so isolated at the moment,” he says. “It’s not often brokers speak to other brokers. If you came across one of your rivals, you would never open up about how your business is doing and what your plans are because you’re giving away information to your competition. But, when you attend the Compass Member Forums or Roadshows, they’re all independents and they’re not your direct competitors because everyone is spread all over the UK. So, it’s a really nice opportunity to speak honestly and openly with your peers and get a feel for what is going on the broking community.”
If you’re a Compass Member and would like to be featured in our Member of the Month series, please speak to your dedicated BDM. If you’re not currently part of Compass Networks and would like to find out more about joining, please get in touch with Strategic Account Manager, Aaron Bunyan, by calling 07511054179 or emailing Aaron.Bunyan@bravo-group.co.uk.