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Our People: Stuart Morris, Operations Manager

I joined the team at Thistle Underwriting in April, as Operations Manager, with the principal responsibility of leading a team of experienced new business and renewal underwriters.

I am joining Thistle at an exciting time in its evolution as we start to shape out our new shared identity as part of Q Underwriting whilst in the midst of a software re-platforming project.

Creating an engaged and informed business unit is one of my key objectives for the remainder of 2019. My initial focus has been on developing an open and transparent way of working with a clear commitment to understanding and improving performance levels.

Following on from this I will be challenging the teams to think outside any self-imposed confines of their current roles as we progress through Q3 & Q4 and become brand ambassadors for both Thistle & Q Underwriting.

We have a range of great products, supported by eye-catching marketing material and a committed team of Regional Development Managers who are actively working on ever-closer broker partnerships, so it’s our responsibility to engage with our brokers and their external colleagues on all of our initiatives and in each of our interactions, so that we continue to spread the word. We’re looking forward to getting to know our brokers even better over the coming weeks and months.

Having spent all of my career in the broking world spanning over 21 years, firstly working for an independent brokerage based in Shropshire, then, following acquisition, leading teams of commercial insurance brokers across the West Midlands & Northern Ireland before more recently forming part of the Swinton Business Leadership team, I know what service our brokers expect.

It’s important for us to communicate our risk appetite clearly and to respond quickly to new business enquiries – by taking personal ownership for seeing these through to a mutually beneficial conclusion. I will be continuing to encourage the New Business team to build close relationships with our broker partners so that Thistle Underwriting becomes the “go to” market for all suitable enquiries.

In addition to managing the team and supporting our brokers, I will be working with the teams on some structured self-development, focusing not only on technical insurance skills but also by encouraging colleagues to get involved in initiatives and projects that will broaden their value to the organisation, expose them to different parts of our business and provide them with additional challenges that will test their mind-set, approach, and commitment to self-development.  One of the outputs from this, aside from the reward of seeing colleagues grow and develop, will be succession planning, so that the next generation of team leaders & senior underwriters can begin to step up and take on more responsibility.

So, lots to do, many challenges ahead but an exciting time to join Thistle Underwriting and the wider Q Underwriting team.

Stuart Morris
Operations Manager
Thistle Underwriting

Recent Success Stories from our High Risk & Construction Team

Here is a selection of some of the recent cases put on cover by our High Risk and Construction Team

Large Builder – premium £37,000 + IPT

A large construction business with a Turnover of £15.3M – too big for the current insurer. The broker challenged us to retain the same rates to help ensure a smooth transition to a new insurer. The challenges didn’t stop there – contracts were big (up to £7M), included basement work, an HSE Notice and a large claim.

The broker worked closely with us to develop a better understanding of the risk. We focused on key issues to understand the background to the HSE Notice, dig deeper into their current health & safety practices, and review some of their recent large contracts. We met the client requirements on premium and cover and received instructions to proceed a week before inception.

This was one of our largest new business wins covering both Liability and CAR/Plant – and we want more of them.

– Ian Thompson

Machinery repairs, service, dismantling and sales– premium £2,000 + IPT

We’d lost this risk 12 months previously – we were disappointed to lose it but excited to have the opportunity to win it back. A theft claim in the current period – their only claim in 5 years – persuaded the existing Insurer to seek a sizeable premium increase. The Insured wanted a better option.

We swiftly agreed with the broker that the terms appeared unreasonable and established the post loss action that had been undertaken. We obtained additional risk management information and agreed a deal (including theft cover at standard terms) that satisfied the Broker and Insured. Happy customers and a happy underwriter – we’d won it back.

The risk involved some dismantling and soft strip demolition work – a feature that is not attractive to many insurers. Machinery dismantling is one of our target trades so we were more than keen to help.

– Andrew Oddy

Large Building Contractor – premium £48,500 + IPT

A large “building contractor” with hidden depths – a specialist in underpinning work and converting basements in the London area with significant and hazardous depth work – down to 5 metres. Contract values were up to £4M. “Building Contractors” are on most underwriters target trade list but the hazardous nature of the work meant that many quickly lost interest. We actively declared our desire to write this case and agreed to work with the broker on an exclusive basis.
The Broker provided in depth detail of their Health & Safety practices, Risk Management information for their largest contract, and trade accreditations. We were convinced this was a superior risk and the hazardous work was being very well managed. We decided to compete aggressively and offered competitive terms and tailored the cover (EL, PL – with a £5M limit – CAR and Plant) to include some technically demanding endorsement wordings.

Basement Conversion is a trade which we target – professional well managed risks with proven experience and safety management. This one clearly fitted the bill and it was great to secure such a large premium case.

– Andrew Oddy

Metal Fabrication/Welding Risk – premium £3,200 + IPT

We were presented with a simple risk “Metal Fabrication and Welding”. The holding market had doubled the rate leaving the broker needing to find alternatives. Curious to find out why we found an unusual number of features – welding on locomotives within a train depot and the manufacture/installation of water wheels and sluice gates.

Welding Contractors are one of our core trades and we are keen to write them. This case proved there are often X factors that need to be resolved. The holding broker had a longstanding connection with the client and was very co-operative in gathering the information we needed. With the additional risk information, we decided to offer premium and terms similar to the Insured’s previous renewal. A good win for client, broker and Thistle Underwriting.

– Ian Thompson

Our Leeds team underwrite our High Risk and Construction products:

Call 0113 389 1110 or email highrisk@thistleunderwriting.co.uk for more information

We’ll see you at BIBA

We’re excited to announce that Thistle Underwriting will be exhibiting at BIBA; this year, we’ll be on the Q Underwriting stand! Find out more about our plans below and make sure you visit us on Stand D28.

Q Underwriting opens for business

Q Underwriting Services Ltd (‘Q Underwriting’ or ‘Q’), has officially opened for business. The new legal and regulated entity unites three out of the four specialist MGA businesses which represent the underwriting division of PIB Group. (more…)