To kickstart a new decade, Yutree Managing Director and Founder, Kevin Hancock, talks about his vision for 2020 and why Yutree remains committed to influencing the insurance industry.
What gave you the idea to create Yutree?
Having sold our previous business in 2007 to an insurer-owned broking business, I spent 4 years in corporate world. It was frustrating because I felt that the client was being treated as a commodity rather than as a business that needed help with problem-solving and its insurance protection. I spent more time being a politician than using my professional skills. So, I came together with a few old colleagues to start again – and Yutree was formed. We had a blank sheet of paper, we put the customer in the centre of everything and began to build long-term relationships with clients, staff, insurers and suppliers.
What aspect of your role do you find most rewarding?
I love the client work. There is nothing more satisfying that helping a client through a tricky situation and demonstrating the value of their insurance programme. I still get that buzz of pleasure every time I renew a client’s insurances for another year and when we win a new client.
What’s top of your agenda for 2020?
Personally, it’s getting married (in August, to Laura). For Yutree, it’s growing the business and our people so that we continue to offer the very best service and advice that we can for our clients.
Why is Newmarket so important as the home of Yutree?
Within the insurance world and the local business community, people know us as having always been in Newmarket. We are well-known locally and are heavily involved in various networking and fund-raising groups. As a result, we are very well-connected in Newmarket and people see us as a bit of a hub when they are looking for business service recommendations. We want people to think of us as THE insurance broker in Newmarket when they are looking to insure their business.
Yutree are quite influential in the insurance sector, with senior figures guiding the industry working with the likes of BIBA, CII, Pool Re and the Society of Insurance Broking. How do you think this has helped build Yutree’s standing and profile in the industry?
I have always felt a responsibility to give something back to the profession. And, more often than not, that giving is more than reciprocated by being able to learn and develop, at first hand, by working with thought-leaders within the profession. We have brought back many things to our business to improve our proposition for our clients. Our trade association, BIBA, does fantastic work in many areas, including lobbying the government & the regulator, offering compliance assistance & arranging the industry’s annual conference. They need willing volunteers and I have always been very happy to help. Likewise, when the CII formed the Society of Insurance Broking, I was delighted to be asked to be its inaugural Chair and help to form the strategy of the Board, influencing the direction and output of our professional standards body.
Are there any plans on the horizon for another acquisition?
We bought Real Insurance Services in 2018 and that has gone well. We are always looking for the right opportunity and would be especially interested if a local or niche broker wanted to plan their exit.
Where do you see the insurance industry in 10 years’ time?
For many years, various commentators have predicted the demise of the local broker. I believe that the opposite will continue to be the case. Clients will always prefer meeting and discussing certain aspects of their business. And insurance is one of those areas. Increasingly, I think that people understand the value of advice…..and you’re not going to get that from AI or a remote call centre. Inevitably, there will be a chunk of businesses that will buy online but they will need to be aware that they are on their own if they have a claim. And they don’t know what they don’t know until, often, it’s too late.
I think that good quality, consultative, professional firms will continue to thrive by offering strong, thoughtful, personal advice.
If you were not an insurance broker, what would you be?
Originally, I wanted to be a PE teacher. I wasn’t quite good enough to make a living as a rugby player. I started in insurance when I was 18 and have been hugely fortunate to have a lot of fun throughout my career. Mind you, I still quite fancy being a pro racing driver…
How do you spend your time outside of Yutree?
Family is really important to me and I love our home & pottering about in the garden. I also spend time racing various cars (see Jemco Racing) and watching rugby, motorsport and cricket.