Gauntlet Enterprise, the career vehicle for entrepreneurial insurance sales specialists wishing to start their own insurance business, took on 14 appointed representatives in the last twelve months to March 31, 2016 making this the fastest rate of growth experienced by the highly selective and Leeds-based AR network to date.
Four of the appointed representatives chose to operate under the Gauntlet brand name, whilst the other nine retained or used their own business name.
Despite the rapid growth of its AR network, Leeds-based Gauntlet has remained highly selective when offering insurance professionals an appointed representative agreement and has continued to operate to strict criteria when entering into partnership with an AR.
To become a Gauntlet AR requires the individual to not just demonstrate a strong desire to establish an insurance brokerage, but also show a commitment to the highest standards of professionalism.
Gauntlet also considers the personality fit between itself and the prospective AR, which is an important factor as the AR works, on an on-going basis, with a back office team in Leeds who handle all compliance, IT, claims, marketing and PR and administration, on the AR’s behalf.
This extensive and in-depth package of support is seen as one of the reasons why entrepreneurial insurance professionals are increasingly making Gauntlet Enterprise their number one port of call when considering a move to self-employment.
Another major reason is referral, with many of Gauntlet’s existing ARs recommending the appointed representative network to friends and former colleagues.
Additionally, Gauntlet attributes its network’s growth to the investment it has made in its new branding and the relocation to its new Leeds headquarters, as well as to the major increase (372 per cent) in its training budget which has constituted a significant investment in its employees.
The final factor has been Gauntlet’s increasing clout within key sectors such as motor fleet, cyberliability and health and safety. Recruitment, team expansion and internal promotion have strengthened Gauntlet’s hand in these fields, enabling its appointed representatives to benefit from its excellent access to market and expertise.
Some ARs are tapping into this, by conducting joint presentations to clients with members of Gauntlet’s head office team and are seeing the benefits of this, by securing key accounts.
ARs who have joined Gauntlet in the last 12 months and opted to keep or choose their own business name are: Damien Mealyer (Positiva Insurance), Andrea Loasby (Aspray Affinity Ltd), Richard Hanson (Hanson Insurance Brokers Ltd), John and Vanessa Pieri (J&V Risk Solutions Ltd), James Miller (Miller Commercial IB Ltd), Rick Matthews (Touchwood Insurance Brokers Ltd), Adam Townley (Townley Insurance Brokers Ltd) & Bill Geelan (WTG (UK) Ltd).
New start-up brokers who have decided to trade under the Gauntlet brand, to benefit from the brand equity emanating from Gauntlet’s reputation in the market, include experienced Yorkshire insurance professional Chris Tummons (Gauntlet Wakefield), Mick Cunningham (Gauntlet Eastern Ltd), Phill Knight (Gauntlet Manchester), Matthew Price (Gauntlet Price), well-known niche removals expert, Graham Puddephatt (Gauntlet Relocation) and motor trade specialists Laura Swain and Lorraine Mullins (Gauntlet Elite).
Gauntlet Wakefield’s Chris Tummons, who had effectively been an AR for 12 years, working on a self-employed basis within the offices of a local broker, said: “After the initial meeting with Gauntlet, I was chomping at the bit. I chose Gauntlet, to a large degree, because of their dynamism and market position. Their advanced IT systems and paperless office policy also allow me to work remotely from my holiday home in France, when I need to.
“The Gauntlet Group is a slick, professional organisation. I wish I had made the move 5 years ago. Joining Gauntlet has certainly given me renewed enthusiasm and that has pleased me immensely. The rewards will come from that.”
Another insurance specialist and now appointed representative at Gauntlet Relocation, Graham Puddephatt, endorses Chris’s view. He said: “Gauntlet do business with panache. I have not been let down once since the day I started as a Gauntlet Appointed Representative and everything Gauntlet said would be done has been delivered.
“Gauntlet doesn’t speak jargon and the organisation is full of supportive and motivated people who deliver what they promise, every single time.
“What I hadn’t expected, however, was the depth of knowledge that I could tap into on the motor fleet insurance and risk management parts of the business. Gauntlet’s profound knowledge and insights in this sector have completely blown me away and the level of support provided to me has been the same whether they have assisted me when prospecting a very large client, or a small one.
“There is no way I would even contemplate going it alone, when Gauntlet has made setting up my own insurance business so smooth and easy for me. It has taken the pain out of FCA compliance and saved me a lot of money on my start-up costs, by providing me with a website, stationery, IT systems and marketing support. I cannot praise them enough.”
Gauntlet Enterprise director Paul Coates said: “We have achieved great growth thanks to having acquired a reputation for honesty, integrity and doing things properly. That makes us very proud, both as a business and as a network.
“The Gauntlet Enterprise network is not just growing, but growing with talented individuals who have their goals and vision aligned with our own. Our ARs are highly entrepreneurial and driven, which is why they choose Gauntlet.
“They recognise that we can take their new start-up business further, because we understand them and are not a faceless or anonymous network. They shake hands with the directors and continue to deal with the directors on an on-going basis.”