Entrepreneur interview: Adam Leyens, director at Heath Crawford

Adam Leyens, director at business insurance firm Heath Crawford explains how the company is posting growth of 50 per cent year-on-year.

The world of business insurance is on the brink of great change, according to a recent Capgemini report. Traditional players are being urged to collaborate with their ‘InsureTech’ counterparts to deliver better customer service in an increasingly demanding world. Here, Adam Leyens, director at commercial insurance broker Heath Crawford, talks through the challenges facing the company and shares tips on how to succeed in the industry.

What is the business, when was it started and what were you doing beforehand?

Heath Crawford is a family owned and managed firm of insurance brokers specialising in the SME sector. The business was started over 20 years ago by my father Laurence Leyens, who is still the MD, and my brother Oliver and I head up the business on a day to day basis. Prior to starting Heath Crawford, my father had two previous businesses, catering and then a chain of video shops. I sold printers for Xerox and Oliver was an estate agent.

How does the service shake up the business insurance sector for SMEs?

There are so many insurance brokers in the UK who are all able to offer the same products and insurers to clients, so therefore the only way that we are able to differentiate ourselves from the competition as brokers is by the service that we provide to our clients on a day to day basis. We run our business on five core values which are: set high standards, always give 100 per cent, think proactively, communicate openly and honestly and build good relationships.

We know that we are living our values as we utilise Feefo to obtain true and honest client feedback and we are pleased to be able to say that since we started using Feefo in 2016, we have been awarded the Gold Trusted Service Provider for 2017 & 2018.

Heath Crawford has also been shortlisted this year at The British Insurance Awards 2018 under the category of ‘SME/Mid Corporate Broker of the Year’.

Our staff are a key part to the above and as such we have been accredited as an Investors in People organisation.

What opportunity did you see when you started the business and what do you expect the turnover potential to be?

My father started the business originally offering private medical insurance to high net worth individuals. Over the years the business has expanded to include corporate private medical insurance, business insurance and all types of general insurance ranging from home, motor to landlords, cyber and professional indemnity.

The goal is to grow turnover over the next five years to £10 million.

How did you finance the business?

In the early days the business was financed by personal investment from my father. As the business has grown the profits have been reinvested.

What were your key marketing strategies?

From the inception of the business there wasn’t really any key marketing strategies other than just hitting the phones and cold calling. The business grew in the early years by referral and we were seeing growth of up to 50 per cent year on year.

In 2017 it was decided to try and ramp up marketing and we onboarded an external agency called Distinctly, who have really helped us expand in respect to organic SEO, social media posts, monthly blogs and a monthly newsletter.

Since working with Distinctly we’ve seen a 10x increase on keyword rankings on Google, a 99 per cent increase on organic traffic within the first two months post-launch off our new website. They also wrote over 100 SEO rich pages of content for our new website, which went live in January 2018.

What are the revenue streams?

The main revenue streams for Heath Crawford are from the commission income that we receive from insurers for recommending their products.

The two main areas are private medical insurance and personal and commercial insurance.

What are the main challenges you have experienced and seen?

The main challenges that we see on a day to day basis are that the likes of price comparison websites have really disrupted the SME market for business insurance. Consumers and businesses are more interested in receiving the cheapest possible policy, rather than being concerned about whether the policy is actually covering them for everything they need. It’s in the event of a claim that clients need their insurance and by having a broker giving best advice ensures that in the event of a claim, there will be no issues in receiving a fast settlement.

What advice would you give to early-stage businesses looking to disrupt markets?

Best piece of advice that we have ever been given is ‘Don’t try to run before you can walk’

Find out more: Heath Crawford

Further reading on entrepreneurs

Why insurance shouldn’t be this hard! Peter Goodman with Homelyfe

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2018 to 2019.

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