Part of the success has been down to the wealth of experience and expertise that director Tony Gutteridge brings to the table.
Trading the safety of a position on the board of a leading taxi insurer for the unpredictable life of a broker, the move represented something of a gamble. But with over 20 years’ worth of underwriting under his belt – in what is a very specialist sector – Gutteridge has seen it all.
Working in conjunction with Plan Insurance – themselves a very successful firm of brokers – they together have devised and created a brand that is standing tall in the private hire services market. As you can imagine, the private hire industry has been hit particularly hard by the recession. As a result, many of Chauffeur Plan Insurance’s main competitors have simply been unable to write profitable business – and have subsequently left.
Following its entry into the market, the company was predicted to grow slowly but steadily throughout its first few years, with the intention of reaching just under £2 million GWP by the close of 2011. But the reality has far outweighed even the most optimistic of forecasts – with growth exceeding these expectations by some 44 per cent.
Attempting to explain Chauffeur Plain Insurance’s success, Gutteridge says, ‘In simple terms, underwriting wise, it’s been a case of stick to what you know works. Couple that with excellent customer service, and you have a winning formula.’
That customer-centred approach has been key to the continued rise of Chauffeur Plan Insurance. Taking the time to understand exactly what is and what isn’t covered in a chauffeur insurance plan is crucial, as is tailoring the policy to the client’s exact needs. The company scores full marks for both.
As with any successful underwriter-broker relationship, the financial bottom line is also an important consideration, as Gutteridge explains, ‘We’ve been at pains to provide our supplier Tradewise Insurance an underwriting profit. Many times when suppliers have pulled out the taxi market we could have strayed from our underwriting philosophy.
‘We could literally have opened the flood gates by accepting risks outside of our criteria and made short terms gains in GWP.
‘But as the saying goes, ‘Any idiot can run a business at a loss’. So we stuck to our philosophy. As a result Tradewise maintained our scheme exclusivity and it’s worked to our mutual benefit. Long may it continue.’
With Gutterdige’s underwriting knowledge, coupled with the marketing acumen of Plan Insurance and the support of Tradewise, there is no reason why the brand can’t continue to grow. In fact, Chauffeur Plan Insurance is targeting GWP of over £7 million in the next year.
For a company that was expected to go quietly about its business during its first few years of operating, they really are causing quite a stir.