Member of the Month
Richard Lovegrove, MD of Stride Insurance Group, reveals how the business has rapidly expanded from its beginnings in Chichester to open branches across the south coast; and how fellow members can enjoy access to Hiscox Property Owners exclusively through Stride.
Tell us about the history of Stride – how did you get started?
Stride Insurance Group is the wholesale arm of Stride Limited, an insurance business started by our Chairman Mel Stride in July 1973.
Stride is still owned privately to this day, ensuring our independence. This is a major point of differentiation for our brokers, who are reassured that our Property Owners cover is sourced from a wide panel of providers, without us being tied to any single carrier.
What have been the biggest milestones for your business?
Originally based in Chichester, the business expanded rapidly throughout the South Coast. We had a network of branches in every major town from Chichester to Bournemouth but as customer behaviour changed, so we changed. We launched our consumer facing quote and buy website in 2006, with online commercial property quotes following shortly after. We consolidated our business into a single contact centre and head office in 2008, bringing all our expertise in one place and allowing us to improve the service we offer our brokers.
Having always had binding authorities with major insurers and traded through broker agencies, we separated out our wholesale business as Stride Insurance Group in 2010. To be honest we haven't looked back since and, with more than 300 brokers on board, we have made a real name for ourselves in the Property Owners market.
What are your key business goals for 2019 and how are you going to use Compass to achieve them?
Our main goal for the business this year is to grow our base of active brokers. This means signing up new agencies and reactivating those dormant accounts where we have lost contact with the principal. Right now we have a very strong proposition for brokers, as Hiscox Property Owners is exclusively available through Stride Insurance Group. Alongside very fair trading terms, we also offer real underwriting expertise in-house, which is key to securing portfolios of complex risks.
We're looking to Compass to bang the drum about what Stride can do for their members - offer them new and exclusive markets for their Property Owners business with first class service.
How has your Strategic Account Manager, Aaron, helped you to make the most of your Compass membership?
Aaron has worked really hard to help us find new markets for some key personal lines business, sometimes by introducing us to new contacts at insurers we already dealt with!
With regards to our Property Owners facilities, he's invited Stride to exhibit at the Compass conference and really got behind our broker offer by getting the area managers involved.
What are the main benefits for you of being a member of Compass?
As well as the direct commercial benefits we've seen with these new relationships, it is critical for us that we have access to the membership to make our case to brokers - we're saying “try us for Property Owners and we won't let you down”. This is a win-win for the member and the network, as we're confident we have the right package of markets, rates, fair terms, underwriting expertise and a genuine commitment to service. Come and have a chat with the Stride Group team at the annual conference in March, we’d be delighted to show you what we can do.
What’s next for Stride?
Brokers are, quite rightly, demanding of their providers so we've always invested in the business. This year we're looking to develop the IT systems that we run all our commercial business on. That may not sound particularly exciting, but we'll be able to offer our brokers friction-less communication and an enhanced online quote platform.
It's simple really - we want to keep our brokers happy so we're all about making business easier for them and reducing the complexity of trading wherever we can.