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Successful insurance start-up urges other businesses to not “go it alone”

Pictured is Darren Paterson, a Gauntlet appointed representative at Paterson Insurance Brokers


A Leeds-based insurance broker is celebrating a hugely successful 18 months of trading, having only embarked upon his new enterprise when the timing was right and he was “planned, prepared and driven”.

Darren Paterson of Paterson Insurance Brokers, who exceeded even his own business expectations and achieved his two-year target within just 13 months, believes his success was down to careful planning, collaboration and realistic approaches.  By not being too bullish about what his business could achieve on its own, he has reaped the rewards that strategic partnering brings.

Darren had already proved he could establish a successful insurance enterprise, having set one up from scratch for another small firm in Leeds.  However, he knew his 25 years’ experience in the insurance sector wasn’t enough to guarantee the level of success to which he aspired.

Within his highly competitive sector, he recognised the overriding need to become part a network that would provide him with considerably enhanced buying power in the insurance market.  This would ensure he could offer clients the best-priced insurance for their specific requirements.

He also realistically viewed what providing a top-class insurance service required at an operational level and realised that necessary expenditure on aspects such as IT, marketing and administrative support, could cripple his business with costs in its first crucial years.

Putting these two considerations together, he sought recommendations from other insurance brokers, in an attempt to find an insurance network that would deliver both expanded access to market and a holistic package of first-rate back-office support.

Positive feedback steered him to a network already high on his shopping list – Gauntlet Enterprise – operated and supported by Leeds-based Gauntlet Group. This ticked all the boxes of the insurance brokers Darren approached, leading him to join its network as an Appointed Representative, in June 2016.

Darren established Paterson Insurance Brokers in July 2015 and worked in tandem with Gauntlet from June 2016, gaining instant access to over 200 insurance brokers through Gauntlet and its relationships.  With his vast experience, Darren quickly attracted clients and easily placed even trickier risks.  The brokerage was even able to compete against the recognised, larger brokers. Darren now has clients from not just Yorkshire, but locations across the UK, including London.

Darren said: “I would urge all business set-ups to focus on their core skills and not get dragged down by non-core areas of the business that they could outsource.  This is effectively what I did, by joining Gauntlet Group’s appointed representative network.

“I had previously been responsible for sales across nine offices for a large insurance broker, so knew how to grow a business, and appreciated that, when setting up alone, it is all about growth, but you still have to deliver the high service levels that clients expect. Spending precious time on peripheral, yet necessary tasks such as IT and marketing, could have been detrimental to our growth plans on both the time and cost front. Thanks to electing to allow Gauntlet’s back office team do all that for me, I have exceeded my goals.”

Darren urges other start-up businesses not to underestimate how much time and energy is required when growing a business.

He has now opened a new client servicing office in Wakefield, which will run alongside the additional support from Gauntlet’s office in Leeds.  Now that the  team is starting to reap the rewards of very hard work, Darren hopes his business strategy will inspire other insurance brokers, and a variety of other entrepreneurs, and encourage them to not overlook the need for support, even when going it alone.


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