Bruce Stevenson Completes Latest Acquisition

Founding UNA Member and Scotland's Scotland’s largest independent insurance broker, Bruce Stevenson has acquired Turriff-based regional player Youngson Insurance Consultants on the back of a record financial year that closes out its most recent 5-year plan of growth.  For the year ended 31st August 2018, revenue was up to £7.3 million (2017: £6.6m), gross profit increased to £1.5 million (2017: £1.37m), while gross written premium (GWP) grew to £33 million (2017 was £30 million). (Please note that Youngson’s figures are NOT included in these figures). 

Key areas of growth for Bruce Stevenson include renewable energy and social housing, which now represent the firm’s two largest sectors, with a step up in activity also recorded in commercial, property, private client, art, and farms and estates over the last twelve months.  The firm has also made strong ground in hospitality and tourism - where the firm has forged partnerships with industry bodies like Scotland Food and Drink and social enterprise Hospitality Scotland Trust (HIT) - with food and drink, distilleries, B&Bs and self-catering all experiencing marked traction.  

Bruce Stevenson was founded in 1981 by current CEO Edward Bruce’s father, David Bruce, and has reached the top industry spot in Scotland by way of organic growth, investing its its people and technology, and has achieved regular annual double-digit revenue growth.  Looking ahead, the senior management team will also continue to actively consider further growth in niche areas and by acquisition.  
Bruce Stevenson CEO, Edward Bruce, said: “We are passionate about looking after our customers and building our reputation in the insurance industry with a view to becoming the broker of choice in Scotland and beyond.  We are making this happen by investing in our people and technology and adding bolt-on acquisitions where we feel they can add expertise and geographic spread to our overall proposition.”
Youngson Insurance Consultants, with a team of 7 in Turriff, adds approximately £2.5 million in GWP to Bruce Stevenson while strengthening the firm’s offering in Aberdeen and the North East.  Edward Bruce said: “Youngson is a great fit culturally and they have a loyal, local client base that helps to provide us with a firmer foothold in the North East of Scotland.  We fully intend to grow the team to take advantage of the opportunities we see in the region.”

Ian Bremner, Director, Youngson Insurance Consultants, said: “While we are well-established in the North East, the firm had been considering how to accelerate our next phase of growth and Bruce Stevenson provides us with the platform to do that.  We’re greatly encouraged that Edward has made it clear from the start of our negotiations that Bruce Stevenson wants to invest in the team and technology to make that happen.”  
Edward Bruce added: “As an owner-managed independent, we focus on using our expertise to advise people on the most comprehensive ways of protecting what is important to them. And we do this by providing a ‘best in class’ standard of service. We constantly strive to create a more fulfilling environment for our people, where they can concentrate on providing a more traditional client facing relationship. The same goes for our relationships with insurers, which are strong and well established. What we’ve found is that by getting to know our clients better, we can offer more relevant advice, resulting in fewer grey areas and more effective insurance cover."  
Bruce Stevenson, which is a Chartered Broker now has 98 people working across 5 offices - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Galashiels, London and Turriff. 

Thomas, Carroll Big Winners

We are proud to announce that Thomas Carroll took home two awards at the Insurance Age UK Broker Awards 2018. After being named Commercial Lines Broker of the Year first, they were absolutely thrilled to go on to win the biggest award of the night – Insurance Broker of the Year.

Insurance Age’s UK Broker Awards, which were held at the Brewery in London this year, recognises the best in broking and celebrates their successes. Thomas Carroll were delighted to have a strong presence at the awards, having also been shortlisted in the Cyber Broker, Claims Team and Training award categories.

Thomas Carroll were also named Insurance Broker of the Year at the prestigious British Insurance Awards back in July this year. These latest accolades recognise the hard work of everyone at Thomas Carroll and our continuous commitment to the insurance industry. Well done to the whole team!

Sutton Winson Recognised for its skill investment

Founding UNA Member, Sutton Winson is very proud to have won a Training Award at the 2018 UK Insurance Age Broker Awards. This award was designed to recognise investment we make in the staff skills - both technical and "soft". 

Throughout their history, they have developed and grown their own people. A demonstration of this is Martin Coppard who joined us as an Account Technician in 2000 and is now a NEBOSH qualified Risk Manager.

The high level of focus on training and development has been recognised as a part of the Chartered Broker application and our achievement of Investors in People Gold standard. In 2017, their employees won both the UNA Alliance Best Newcomer and Achievements Awards, and an employee was selected for CII New Generation Programme. Plus we employed 3 supplementary people on a 2-year Graduate Trainee Programme.

They are also supportive of wider development initiatives; for example, they’re funding a Russian course for an employee who expressed an interest in learning the language to engage with a growing number of the HNW Russian individuals coming to the UK. These external courses are supplemented by extensive internal training by experts in their areas on technical and soft skills, which adds ability to our skills portfolio and enhances our service proposition.

They're fully committed to becoming one of the best Independent Brokers to work with and for, through enhancing long term career opportunities, increasing staff motivation and retention.

Mr Toomey of Apex Consultants (first apprenticeship provider to secure CII accredited provider status) commented: “Since we started working with Sutton Winson 15 years ago, we have seen a very impressive commitment to apprenticeships as well as other learning. The fact that more than 30% of its staff have gone through the apprenticeship route demonstrates the value it places on the programme and its structured, supported learning.

“Sutton Winson was a natural early adopter for the Level 4 apprenticeship and it is pleasing to see high numbers of Level 3 apprenticeships moving to the next level and, in doing so, achieving the CII Diploma in Insurance. We expect the Level 4 apprenticeship to result in higher numbers of people across the sector completing the Advanced Diploma in Insurance.”

Mario Zakakiotis (Graduate Trainee) commented: "Since starting at Sutton Winson I have been given the support and encouragement that has enabled me to develop personally and professionally. I feel part of a team, not just in my chosen area but throughout all areas of the business. The training programme ensures I get the most out of my development in order to reach my full potential and is setting me up for a great future in the insurance industry. I look forward to what lies ahead."

Una & Three Members Shortlisted for UK Broker Awards

Congratulations to three of our Una members for reaching the UK Broker Awards 2018 Awards shortlist.

Centor, Sutton Winson and Thomas Carroll are all finalists in the Training Award category with Centor & Thomas Carroll also nominated for both the Claims Team Award and Commercial Lines Broker of the Year Award.

Thomas Carroll has also been shortlisted for the new for 2018, Cyber Broker Award.

Una is again delighted to be shortlisted for the Network of the Year Award for the second year running.

Now in their 25th year, the UK Broker Awards hosted by Insurance Age are the leading platform for national recognition within the insurance broker market. The awards are the ideal way to demonstrate to your peers, clients and insurer partners that you have both a track record of success and the skills and expertise to grow in the coming months and years. 

The final will be held on 14th September at The Brewery, London

Good luck to you all!

Finch's Return to Profitability

Manchester-headquartered UNA Member, Finch Insurance Brokers has reported a 7% rise in turnover to £3.87m for the year ended 31 December 2017.

Operating profit was also up 2% to £487,135 as pre-tax profit nudged up to effectively the same level.

The increases mark a change around from the 2016 results when profits and turnover fell.

At that time group managing director Mike Latham explained that the reductions were due to investments as the firm targeted sustainable growth.


Speaking about the most recent figures Latham told Insurance Age the uptick was consistent with the plan of investing in service and talent.

He noted that new business income had outweighed lapsed clients by a net 9.5%.

“This year we will continue to focus on organic growth and expect to do something similar again,” he said. “But the profitability will be enhanced as the investments were made in 2016 and 2017.”


The company, which places around £38m of gross written premium, specialises in mid-market particularly for hospitality and tech clients typically paying £100,000 to £1m of premium.

Latham said there had been growth “across the board” of property, motor and casualty. He noted that cyber was picking up but was starting from a small base.

The wider group, known as Alec Finch Group, also offers employee benefits and turnover here was also up at £5m (2016: £4.7m).


Latham has previously stated his intention to double the wider group by 2020 and he reiterated the plan.

“We are still planning on £10m by 2020,” he confirmed explaining it would be a mix of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions. He said he was hopeful of completing at least one deal this year.

The Una and Worldwide Broker Network member was bought by French firm Verlingue in 2007.

Latham came on board in October 2012 having worked at Jelf. He was latterly regional managing director of the North and Midlands having been managing director of Manson Insurance Brokers when it was bought by the consolidator in January 2008.

“Verlingue’s ambition is to be much bigger outside of France than they currently are,” he began.

“The approach is always to invest in their territories and management teams.”


Latham admitted to having been “pleasantly surprised” by how much he had enjoyed working with Verlingue.

“I was very clear around… if I was going to take on this project that I would be given the authority and the autonomy to go ahead and do it.

“I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else.”

Looking ahead he predicted 10% organic growth for 2018 and a double digit surge in profitability.

“The [profit] number next year will be even more,” he concluded.

“We have enhanced profitability with investments made throughout 2016 that are beginning to drive through.”