Director of Taxi Plan Insurance Tony Gutteridge explains the principals behind how he established a market leading chauffeur insurance brokerage within just three years.
When Tony Gutteridge left his position as a director of a market leading public and private hire insurer he had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. He was in search of a new challenge and was aware that a gap in the insurance market existed for a forward thinking Public & Private hire intermediary.
In particular Tony believed that within the insurance market there was an opportunity to offer chauffeurs a greater number of policy benefits, at more competitive rates allied with a level of customer service that chauffeur drivers would be unaccustomed to.
A chance meeting with Scott Georgiades, a director of insurance brokerage ‘The Plan Group Ltd’, at an industry function led to Tony being given the platform upon which to put his vision in place.
The Plan Group have established an excellent working relationship with Tradewise Insurance Services Ltd over many years on the back of their proven track record of providing profitable niche motor business.
When this was combined with Tony’s status as a respected industry figure with vast experience of the Taxi Insurance industry, Tradewise were willing to offer the newly formed department with in The Plan Group, Taxi Plan Insurance, an exclusive agreement to underwrite a scheme for Chauffeurs on their behalf.
Scott Georgiades explains what he thinks were the reasons behind Tradewise’s decision,
Obviously the reality of the situation was that Tradewise were taking a gamble entering into a new market that previously they’d had limited exposure to, and they were well aware that traditionally Taxi insurance has been a difficult area to generate an underwriting profit from.
However Tony had a clear idea of who he wanted to target and how he was going to appeal to them whilst maintaining a profitable account. With his vast experience and the package of policy benefits Tradewise would be able to provide, I was confident that our experiment would be a success for all parties.
A success indeed, after initially dipping their toe in the murky water of the Taxi Insurance pool Tradewise are looking to increase their exposure and have given Taxi Plan the green light to write greater volumes. Tony says,
The key is being able to generate a profit for the insurer whilst offering proposers a policy with a greater number of benefits, at a more competitive premium than their existing renewal. It’s not an easy equation to balance but we’re managing to make it work. It’s a careful process of selecting business on a case by case basis and not letting the book be contaminated by poor risks.
We’re of the opinion that chauffeurs take a pride in their appearance, in their vehicle and in their claims history. And within the term chauffeur we deem that to include Executive Drivers Insurance policy holders who operate from home using newer vehicles in semi-rural areas and beyond, and have an established book of regular clientele.
Tony is quick to point out that Taxi Plan are still keen to offer policies to drivers working from base offices using two way radios but these drivers are often predominantly price orientated and more often than not they are prepared to sacrifice policy benefits in order to obtain lower premiums. Tony says,
We fully understand and appreciate the factors that result in each proposer’s decision making process. The key is having the markets in place to be able to tailor cover to the exact requirements of the driver in question.
The policy that we offer wouldn’t be suitable for many Mini Cab drivers, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t have the right product at the right premium for a mini cab driver. It’s too big a market for us to ignore and if you provide as good a service as we do clients are more loyal than many sectors within motor insurance.
Tony appreciates that,
Both Executive Driver Insurance clients and Chauffeurs are also price conscious, it goes without saying that they’re seeking competitive insurance premiums. However when it comes to cover they’re not prepared to cut corners. For that reason I wanted to be able to sell on the basis of the policy’s benefits as well as premium.
When attempting to create the package of benefits that would appeal to our target market of Executive Driver Insurance policy holders and Chauffeurs the key to my thinking was the fact that their vehicle is their business and without it they can not operate.
So I sort to put a Chauffeur Insurance package in place that would eradicate the circumstances where they could be left exposed to being without a vehicle. For that reason I negotiated with our accident management company to secure like for like replacement vehicles in the event of our client’s being involved in fault & non fault accidents, and I also put in place free nationwide taxi breakdown cover that includes home-start, free legal expenses and onward transportation.
When you combine these benefits with instant quotations, protected no claims bonus from 1 year, free legal expenses and unlimited vehicle glass cover Taxi Plan’s Chauffeur insurance policy starts to sound a very attractive package.
Tony goes on,
With the benefits of the Chauffeur cover well established I’m constantly looking for ways of making it more competitive in terms of premium. And as long as I’m making a profit for the insurer I can offer the consumers lower rates. For that reason I’ve introduced 50% second vehicle discounts and free spouse cover which have proved successful.
Tony’s judgement has been backed up by the growth of Taxi Plan Insurance that has been both swift and controlled. Now at the end of its 3rd operating year Taxi Plan has a GWP approaching £2 million and a very healthy claims ratio.
From virtually a standing start and taking into account the current market conditions the growth rate is undeniably impressive. It was feared that the use of chauffeurs and drivers of prestige vehicles for the Private Hire would be one of the areas to be targeted first by those in charge of budget cut backs.
However Taxi Plan’s concerns proved to be unwarranted as demand for their Chauffeur product remains remarkably high, and with the needs of both the insurer and consumer being fully satisfied long may it continue.
Taxi Plan Insurance is a trading name of The Plan Group Ltd. The Plan Group Limited also offers an extensive range of insurance products via its other specialist departments Plan Insurance, Commercial Plan Insurance and Trade Plan Insurance.
*NB – since this post date we have undergone a re-brand to update our image and our brand. The various sub-brand departments that were within Plan Insurance such as Taxi Plan, Commercial Plan, Trade plan etc. were brought together under the one name of Plan Insurance Brokers. Read more about our re-brand here.