UNA Conference 2020

Organising a virtual conference a learning experience

It’s nearly time for the UNA Alliance annual conference and, this year, we’re focusing on ‘Rising Up’ to the challenges that lay ahead of us all as we make our way into (hopefully sooner rather than later!) a post-pandemic future.

This year’s conference takes place on Thursday 12th November and we’re looking forward to welcoming several hundred delegates, from across our membership, as well as our partners.

Had someone told us this time last year, while we were enjoying a packed ‘back to the future’ agenda and already looking forward to seeing each other again at this year’s conference, no one could have foreseen the very different circumstances we’d all find ourselves in now. With all of the additional planning and management needed to implement social distancing, and many other events having been cancelled this year, postponing our own conference could have been an easy option. But, at UNA Alliance, we love to get our members together. Planning a conference during social distancing restrictions, which have now turned into a full lockdown, has not been easy. So what have we learned that we can share with the wider world?

Live in person or virtual - theme is still king

With life for many busier than ever, asking people to take time out of their schedules to attend a conference requires content that will be have a real application and immediate use in their day to day life. This year, we’ve called upon UNA Alliance members, Tysers, to present on ‘Brexit – the way forward’, giving us all an insight into the preparations needed ahead of 31 December 2020, and reassuring us that we’re in a strong position going forward. And Anna Freeman and Greg Searle from ZavFit will introduce us to a new approach to money fitness – helping us to improve our mental wellbeing by improving our attitude to finance. We’ve sandwiched two speed dating sessions in between these two inspiring presentations, helping us all to stay in touch and make the most of our UNA Alliance together.

Planning the platform

We’re not going to lie…finding the right platform on which to run our conference wasn’t easy! We reviewed countless solutions, from top end off the shelf options through to bespoke opportunities. Our platform needed several different functions, including the ability to host live presentations for all our members and partners at the same time, as well as ‘break out rooms’ for our speed dating.

Some of the options we reviewed were unviable for budget reasons, while others simply did not deliver the functionality we needed. Working out what you want to achieve from your event, and what content you need to share, will help you to select the most appropriate platform for your event.

Working out the format

Obviously a normal, face to face conference includes activities with multiple formats. Planning that in a virtual conference is not so simple. Keeping content short is essential for a virtual event so, while we had many plans for our sessions this year, we pared it back to ensure we could keep it engaging for everyone online, too.

One of the elements we’ll really miss is, of course, our dinner event. This will, of course, need to wait until we can all be together in person, but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to support our communities so, in lieu of our usual ‘on the night’ charity raffle and auction, we’ve set up JustGiving pages to allow people, if they’re able and would like to do so, to donate to two very worthy causes: Macmillan Cancer – in memory of our dear friend, Andy Jenkins – and the Samaritans, helping them to continue their work supporting the wellbeing of people across the UK during difficult times.

 We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our delegates to our virtual event, and we will, of course, be sharing learnings from our conference in the weeks to come. As with any event, measuring success is key, and we’ll also share what went well, and what we’ve learned could be done differently, as well. Watch this space!

Rise up to a changing culture around money introducing ZavFit for UNA V Conference 2020

To people outside of the arena (and to a few within, we have no doubt!), insurance industry conferences may well sound a little boring. At UNA Alliance, our members and partners know that that’s not the case and, as well as topical sessions and information, we always like to bring in speakers who will present something that can make a real difference, not only to our members as businesses, but also as individuals. So, we’re delighted this year to be introducing ZavFit.

Did you know that worrying about money is one of the leading causes of anxiety and mental health issues? Now, more than ever, being financially fit is something everyone is mindful of. And, while incredibly important, being financially fit doesn’t just mean that there’s enough money coming in to pay the bills, to contribute to pension pots or to save for a rainy day. How our money makes us feel is equally important.

ZavFit is a new HealthTech start-up working with the aim to help people improve their health and happiness. Rather than being a savings plan or budgeting tool, though, ZavFit is focused on helping people to feel less stressed and more happy about their money and finances.

At our 2020 Conference, ZavFit founder, Anna Freeman, and Olympic Gold Medallist (yes, we do always like to bring a celebrity into the mix!), Greg Searle, will talk with us on this interesting and incredibly timely topic, introducing a new wellbeing concept – MoneyFitness. MoneyFitness is about understanding yourself better and what makes you feel happier and healthier. Spending in line with those things can contribute most to your health and happiness. 

At UNA Alliance we’re all looking forward to this interactive session and we’ll be taking notes to share more, including some industry specific insight, in the coming weeks.


UNA Unveils New Member

UNA, the leading Independent Broker Alliance, is delighted to announce a new addition to its ranks: James Hallam Insurance Brokers.

UNA Executive Director, Tim Ryan commented:-

“We’re proud to welcome James Hallam on board as new Members to UNA.  They are an extremely well respected firm and come with an established reputation and strong market presence.  They will sit well around our table and strengthen our Membership during these unprecedented times.”

Paul Anscombe, Chief Executive at James Hallam commented:- 

“We have always regarded our independence as a strength of this business so joining UNA, an alliance of like minded independent brokers can only make us stronger.  We look forward to growing together.”

Mr Ryan also commented:-

“..It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year.  With Covid and hardening market conditions, the market place is as demanding as it ever has been.  We believe that by standing together as one, the Alliance is in a very strong position to navigate this storm together, for the benefit of our Members, clients and Partners..”   


UNA Wins Again

UNA is delighted to announce that for the second year running, it has won the prestigious Broker Network of the Year award at the recent Broker Innovation Awards.

It's a magnificent achievement and true reflection of the professionalism of all involved, especially during these testing Covid Days.

Well done to all our wonderful Members for all your support.

#alltogetherbetter #independentbrokeralliance

UNA Conference 2019

We are delighted to be hosting this years annual conference at Oulton Hall Hotel in Yorkshire on 14th November.  It’s particularly pertinent that we are in Yorkshire as, our friends and founder Member, T L Dallas celebrate their centenary.

We will be welcoming delegates from both our Member companies and our Partners and this year’s itinerary is all about looking forward to the future whilst acknowledging the past with our apt tagline of “Back to the Future”.   We will have a couple of surprises along the way during the day and we’re delighted to be holding a 1920's themed evening of entertainment, to hark back to days of old.

The day’s programme sees the usual mix of keynote speakers, including behavioural economist, Mark Pittaccio and communication specialist Nick Looby along with interactive breakout sessions and lots of networking opportunities between the members and partners.