UNA Three Peaks Challenge 2018

It’s been a busy few months for UNA members, not lease for the intrepid band of walkers and drivers who embarked on the famous Three Peaks Challenge – to conquer the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales – in under 24 hours.

Six teams took part in the challenge, which was part of our 20th anniversary goal to raise £20,000 for Mind and the British Heart Foundation.

 Not a cloud in the sky!

We set off on June 28th with a smile and spring in our step – soon to be brought back down to earth! A heatwave isn’t something we normally have to worry about in the UK but, as we hit the slopes of Ben Nevis, it was declared the hottest day in Scotland for over 100 years! Ben Nevis has a large number of false summits, so when you think you’re nearly there, you realise there’s another climb around the corner. However, the first teams were back down in just under five and a half hours.

Next on the horizon was Scafell Pike in the Lake District – to be tackled in the dark, just to make it even more challenging. Progress was quick for most, with teams making up for the lost time on Ben Nevis. The speediest completed it in just over three and half hours.

By the time we reached the third peak of Mount Snowdon, those still in the running to complete the challenge within 24 hours had just around four hours left. Our teams were battling physical exhaustion from the intense exercise, heat, minor injuries, aches and pains, and a lack of sleep.

I’m delighted to say we had two teams who completed the challenge within the set timeframe – they even ran back down Snowdon to make sure they beat the clock! The first reached the finish line in 23 hrs 45 mins, with the next team just seven minutes behind.

We’d like to wish a huge congratulations to Barrie McCarthy and Greg Edwards from Thomas Carroll, Will Meyer from Sutton Winson and Susan Battersby from T L Dallas who were first home. They were closely followed by Neil Hobbs and Marc Hancock from Sutton Winson, Vikki Rowell of Ryans and Chris Jackson of Integro.

Our efforts have raised nearly £13,000 for our two charities, so a huge congratulations to everyone who took part on the day, as well those who have supported us. Our Justgiving page will be live until our conference in November when we will hopefully have smashed our target.

A special mention must go to Susan Battersby, for whom this was a particularly personal challenge. Rather poignantly for Susan, she started her climb on Ben Nevis exactly three years to the day that she was admitted to a mental health facility, to begin her long journey to recovery. Clearly she has proved to herself that, three years on, she had the strength to conquer this very demanding challenge, and that she has made huge progress in this time. If ever there was a reason for raising funds, it’s personal stories like this, that make a challenge like this all the more worthwhile.

  Teamworking in full swing!


BIBA Launches Standardised TOBA

UNA Executive Chairman, Tim Ryan has hailed the launch of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s (Biba) standardised Toba template.

According to the trade body taking up the template will save 80 working hours, reduce bureaucracy and increase productivity.

“The absolute logic is that driving out frictional cost and bureaucracy has to be a good thing,” Ryan summed up.

Ryan, also a Biba main board member and chairman of its Toba committee, told Insurance Age that the association had spent two years on the project.

It canvassed views from across the market including large and small brokers, insurers of all sizes and the Association of British Insurers to build the new offering and provide a standardised template which covers 70% of the usual content.

“The final output allows versatility which deals with any arguments that anyone might have about a Toba creating some sort of competitive advantage,” he argued noting the template allowed for addendums or the insertion of unique pieces of information.

He also countered the view that the document might end up gathering dust on shelves and argued it should be utilised by all but accepted it might be a long campaign.

“We understand that we are putting a marker down and changing how things have operated for a considerable period of time,” he admitted. “It is a long burn rather than an instant impact.”

Ryan is the executive chairman of UNA Member Ryan’s in Ipswich, a mid-sized provincial broker with over 200 Tobas including instances of different parts of the business having different Tobas with the same insurer.

“I cannot imagine that a small broker with a similar number of Tobas would have the resource or understanding to check every Toba that they are signing,” he continued.

According to him the body of work had shown that there was a need for greater understanding in the market to ensure contractual commitments are fair.

As part of the development the committee scrutinised numerous Tobas and Ryan criticised the way that many had evolved into “antiquated documents”.

“Some of them are very poorly written,” he maintained.

“The meaning and fairness of the documents get lost in the ether, they get very complicated.”

The final published outcome has been delivered after numerous iterations of the document and constantly liaising with partners and legal counsel for feedback.

Ryan said he was keen for further feedback predicting “insurers will want to pore over” the document.

“We have to keep the momentum going, keep the committee going, review and respond to any issues that arise,” he said.

And while repeating that it would not be a “light switch” moment with instant change he predicted “significant take up over the next two to three years”.

Explaining: “Over a period of time I am expecting this to gain traction.

“Logic dictates to me that if we are driving out frictional costs from trading business with our partners and creating transparency for the brokers signing these Tobas… it brings in simplicity to everything that we do.”

Biba is committed to promoting the new voluntary Toba, which is valid for commercial and personal lines, to insurer partners, networks and managing general agents as well as its members.

The launch represented the delivery of a 2018 manifesto commitment and Ryan, in his capacity with UNA, will also personally be asking all partners to consider using it.

“I think brokers will fully support what we are trying to do. That the manifesto point has been acted upon and delivered is very positive for the members.”

And concluded: “I cannot imagine anyone wanting to resist this, it would be lunacy.”


Founding UNA Member and one of Scotland’s largest independent insurance brokers, Bruce Stevenson has raised over £11,000 for its chosen charity, FareShare Scotland.

With over 90 staff across offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders, Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers committed to donating 2% of its annual profits in 2017 to FareShare Scotland. Alongside this, Bruce Stevenson staff have undertaken a variety of fundraising activities including a 72-mile charity cycle, led by their Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont.

FareShare Scotland collects good quality, in date surplus food from retailers and producers then redistributes it to more than 476 charities and community groups to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Scotland. The food is transformed into nourishing meals for those in women’s refuges, homeless shelters and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children.

The charity is now reaching an average of 38,590 people per week. There are four regional centres across Scotland in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. Each of these centres is run with a regionally based delivery partner, with the depot providing a centre for working with young people or support volunteers. The delivery partners also offer additional assistance in the form of employability training, mentoring and emotional support. In 2017, FareShare supported 6,273 frontline charities providing 28.6 million meals across the UK.

Edward Bruce, CEO of Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “..In 2017, we decided to focus our fundraising efforts on one dedicated charity, which was when we partnered with FareShare. There are families in our local communities who are going hungry on a nightly basis and the reality is that there are incredible levels of wastage with food products.
“Our teams have worked hard this year to raise funds to support FareShare’s positive impact. From baking to cycling and running half marathons, it’s been fantastic to see how much effort everyone has put in to help contribute to FareShare’s incredible work.
“The charity really is making a difference to so many lives across the country by working with communities, charities and businesses to deliver resources where they’re vitally needed.”

Gillian Kynoch, Head of FareShare in Scotland, said: “..FareShare in Scotland is enormously grateful to Bruce Stevenson and their staff for their very generous support and effort on our behalf. We are experiencing ever-increasing demand from charities across Scotland. These front line charities and community groups provide a safety net for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Last year we redistributed nearly 2000 tonnes of surplus food; providing four million meals in Scotland. We hope to invest this funding into additional chiller and freezer capacity to help us redistribute even more food in 2018.”
The decision to appoint FareShare Scotland as its dedicated charity underlines the broker’s commitment to support good causes in local communities.

For more information on FareShare Scotland, please visit www.fareshare.org.uk or visit www.brucestevenson.co.uk.

Bruce Stevenson Unveils Brand Refresh


2017 has been a year of consolidation and steady growth for Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, UNA's Scottish Member.

We are now addressing plans for continued growth and investment in professional development.

Over the course of the last 6 months we have reviewed our current branding and we are now delighted to launch our new, refreshed look. This updated logo gives our brand a new lease of life and stands us in good stead for our future plans. While we have stayed true to our core values, we have given the logo a cleaner, more polished appearance. We are following our brand refresh with a new website which will launch in early 2018.

Una Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Members and Partners were among over 170 delegates who attended the 20th annual Una Alliance conference on 16th November at The Belfry.

Hosted by Una's Executive Chairman, Tim Ryan, delegates were 'entertained' by short videos from the 13 members showcasing their businesses before keynote speaker Paul McGee aka 'The Sumo Guy' took to the stage to inspire and motivate the audience with his engaging and thought provoking presentation about 'Change & Resilience'.

Back by popular demand members enjoyed a 'Speed Dating' session with our partner insurers and breakout sessions included 'Current Issues & Future Trends in Claims' with Zurich Insurance and 'How to Harness the Power of Social Media & Digital Marketing' presented by expert Mark Brill.

The afternoon saw Nick Hobbs and David Martin from insurer partner Allianz looking back at how the industry has changed over the last 20 years with some nostalgic slides and memories and a vision of how tomorrow may look.


Allianz Director David Martin looking to the future!

This year's Una Achievement Awards sponsored by Chubb were presented to our winners by Olympic gold medallist and adventurer James Cracknell who also closed the day with his own amazing and inspirational story of achievement.  This year, we had 2 different awards.  Firstly, the Newcomer of the Year Award, open to those employees with less than 2 years Insurance Industry experience, and secondly, the overall Achievement Award.  Both went to employees of Sutton Winson, so many congratulations! 

 Winner Rachel O'Hara from Sutton Winson being presented with her Una Newcomer Award


Winner Chris Baumann from Sutton Winson being presented with his Una Achievement Award

The conference was followed by a champagne reception and dinner including table magician 'Magic Matt' who kept guests both entertained and astonished us with his 'pick pocket' skills during the evening and made a great end to another successful and enjoyable Una Conference to mark their 20th Anniversary.