Acquisition of Clark Thompson by Jelf boosts growth

Acquisition of Clark Thompson by Jelf boosts growth

The acquisition of Clark Thomson by Jelf has boosted revenues for the company and has brought a host of new jobs for senior figures within the organisation.

The Herald reported that the Jelf merger, which brought together 14 offices with over 200 staff members across Scotland, as well as a flagship premises in the centre of Glasgow has signalled a new surge of growth for the company.

So far, in 2019 Jelf is approaching double last year’s rate of growth which stood at 5%.

Catherine Kelly, Jelf director for Scotland, said: “We all came together in this office at George Square on the second of July last year. When I say ‘we’, there were five teams of people. So, you had the Clark Thomson people. You had the Marsh guys who then became Jelf, and effectively, you had three offices of Jelf. So that was five teams of us all coming together in this one office. In total, there’s about 77 people within this office. We are brokers who look after commercial insurances, covering personal insurances as well.

“We also have employee benefits, and risk management and we also have invested in high net worth as well, which is a growth for Jelf. In terms of some of the challenges over the last year is the fact that it’s five different teams coming together, it’s probably the culture. I think that’ll have been a bit of a challenge.”

A smooth transition is a consideration for clients, as well as staff, with plans to rebrand as Marsh Commercial next year. Ms Kelly said that as changes continued in the background, following acquisitions, the firm’s role included reassuring clients that “their business is still important to us”. The staff ensured business continuity.

She said: “If you dealt with an account executive as part of Jelf on the Friday, come the Monday you still dealt with the same people and still the same internal people. I guess that’s the most important thing, is that we make sure that we keep the business that we’ve got. The other, obviously, is to grow the business. Again, because it’s the five teams coming together, that’s not always easy.

“What we have done is, after being together for that length of time, it gave me the opportunity really see what we wanted to do about our branch directors and sales leaders. There was a number of people that I felt could do this job, as opposed to going externally. We’ve now got a new team in place, and that’s all internal promotion.”

The new team includes a new branch director, development director and client service director.

Catherine Kelly added: “Also as part of Jelf, which is one of the benefits of being part of a larger organisation is that we really can offer our clients everything. In terms of employee benefits, we have someone who’s actually sitting in there, in our office in Glasgow, who’ll come out and speak to our clients about their private healthcare, death in service, or just what they want to do with their employees in terms of employee engagement. It differentiates ourselves from other brokers, as well, that we’ve actually got that at our fingertips.”

She also said: “We also have our own risk management team. We can introduce our risk management guys to our clients. We’re looking at their insurance program, and maybe looking at their claims frequency, or how we can help in the health and safety. High net worth is a growth area, which is for high-end household insurance and private cars.

“Just about 15 months ago, Jelf recognised it as a growth area. We appointed an account exec, specifically for high net worth. Again, when you’re out seeing a commercial client, there’s nothing better than introducing someone who is an expert in that field. Again, it enhances our proposition.”

Ms Kelly added: “For a number of our insurers, we will be their largest client. For example, for Allianz, AXA and Aviva, Jelf will be their largest broker in Scotland. With that brings good relationships, good partnerships. We meet with insurers on a regular basis.

“We encourage tri-party meetings. Quite often with clients, we will involve the insurer if we think that’s applicable and appropriate. It’s just that tri-party agreement, to make sure that we get the best cover and the best deal for our clients. If you look at the growth for last year, despite everything that’s going on in the background, we still managed to service our clients and grow.

“Last year, we grew by 5%, and this year, to date, we’ve grown by 9%. We need to ensure we keep entertaining those clients, by offering things like the employee benefits, the risk management, it all enhances our overall proposition.”

She ended by listing a number of recent wins, including: “Pearsons of Duns, they’re a coal and log merchant, also dealing with stoves and own a couple of gardening centres. It’s a family-run business. We were invited in to review their insurances. We completed a full review, identified some gaps and exposures, and recommendations, and we were appointed as a broker.”

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