Chris Tummons, who started Gauntlet Wakefield in November 2015, has not looked back since making the decision to take centre stage as a self-employed insurance broker, whilst having a very experienced back office team assisting from the wings.
He did this by taking a route open to insurance professionals who recognise they have the skills to build a business, but who are also realistic about the gaps in their skills set, or aspects of running a business that are best left to others.
This route is that of the Appointed Representative. It involves the insurance entrepreneur electing to work with a broker network that provides distinct benefits, in return for a share of the business generated. In Chris Tummons’s case, there was only one choice when it came to an Appointed Representative network and that was Gauntlet Enterprise, based in Leeds.
As Chris says: “After the initial meeting with Gauntlet, I was chomping at the bit and ready to set up on my own. I had been contemplating the move for six months, but instantly took to Gauntlet because of its dynamism, market position and advanced IT system, which allows me to work remotely from my holiday home in France. The fact Gauntlet is based close to my home was just an added bonus.”
Chris had been recommended to talk to Gauntlet by an industry friend who was confident it would be an excellent move and personality fit. Chris took up their suggestion and, thanks to Gauntlet taking the strain in areas such as administration, IT, marketing and PR, claims handling and the onerous FCA compliance procedures to which all insurance professionals have to adhere, was able to hit the ground running as a new insurance business start-up.
A big commercial customer instantly came his way and he started to enjoy back office support he had never had previously, even though he had been self-employed and ‘attached’ to a local insurance broker for around 12 years.
Having the freedom to bring in insurance business and grow his customer base has energised Chris and given him a highly pro-active attitude that is helping his new company thrive.
He says: “The Gauntlet Group is a slick and professional organisation and I wish I had made the move to join it five years ago.”
He is now able to offer clients what is virtually a 24/7 service, being there for clients who need to speak to him out of hours and at weekends.
He is currently working with clients not just in Yorkshire, but in London, Bristol and across the Pennines in Lancashire. He believes using the Gauntlet name has given him added credibility, whilst being an entrepreneurial partner of Gauntlet presents other opportunities to him.
Chris will look at working with any business that thinks beyond just the price of the premium, despite the fact that, through Gauntlet, he can access a wide number of different policies provided by an array of insurers, from household names, to niche specialists.
Chris is delighted with his first six months of running his own insurance brokerage, which he feels has endorsed his business decision to choose to partner with Gauntlet.
Chris says: “Joining Gauntlet as an Appointed Representative has given me renewed enthusiasm for my job and this has been immensely pleasing. The rewards that I have enjoyed have resulted from this buoyant feeling and the positive mental attitude that Gauntlet fosters.”
Chris is now enjoying the fruits of his own labour but still has time for his hobbies of playing guitar, live music, walking his dogs and enjoying a pint or two of real ale. Having a work-life balance that is in his own hands is another big plus of becoming an Appointed Representative.
More information about Gauntlet Wakefield can be found at www.gauntletwakefield.com and details about how to apply to become an Appointed Representative can be accessed at www.gauntletenterprise.com by any insurance professional wishing to follow the same path as Chris.