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Standing out from the crowd

As FirstPort Insurance Services celebrates its 20th Year in the Industry, Managing Director, Judi Runciman talks about her approach and that of her team, which ensures that the business stands out from the crowd.

FirstPort Insurance Services is a respected and trusted insurance broker working in a niche market that specialises in insurance for blocks of apartments. It prides itself on its ethical ways of working and customer-centered ethos.

I began my career in insurance 45 years ago as an underwriter and moved to broking when I was given the opportunity to run a small brokerage office.  I have never looked back. Since then I have worked both at a local and national level and have seen a great deal that has inspired me for my leadership of FirstPort Insurance Services.

FirstPort as a business has a strapline ‘More Than Just Bricks and Mortar’, in our business this has never been more relevant.

We deal directly with Resident Management and Right to Manage Company Directors who are entering into contracts with us to arrange their buildings insurance. Some of these clients have taken on these roles without prior property management or insurance knowledge and we take the time to go the extra mile so that they fully understand what service we provide and the benefits – it’s about making their life easier. With block insurance, not only is it important that we get the right price, but also the right cover as not all products on the market are comparable.

As a contents insurance broker, with over 12,000 contents insurance customers, we are often dealing with vulnerable people when it comes to our retirement property customers who require a service that offers reassurance and confidence in our ability. Each customer has a named contact within our team so they can speak to the same person for all their dealings with us and can form a relationship with them. Customer feedback on our unique approach is very complimentary – we have many long term customers coming back to us year on year because they trust and value our service.

The environment we deal in can be extremely complex. For buildings insurance, we are often dealing with multi-block sites that require a tailored approach. We deal with crisis situations, such as large-scale water damage that can affect hundreds of apartments and communal facilities. In these situations, we need to be on hand to provide not only a rapid response but one that meets the needs of all customers concerned.

My team are wonderfully supportive and we are all on the same wave-length as I only employ people that can showcase they have strong ethics and morals. I know we will always put the customer at the heart of what we do, not only because that is what is expected of us by our regulators*, but also because everyone deserves to be dealt with in a respectful manner and given the best advice and service. We work very hard to be fair and transparent to our clients and to treat them with the respect we would wish to receive ourselves.

We operate in line with our own Code of Ethics that I have developed with my team.  It sets out the standards we want to work to. For us, it’s about being accurate and straightforward with customers and ensuring advice is tailored and suitable for their individual needs. It’s also about remembering everyone is an individual and about putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and seeing it from their perspective so the service truly reflects their situation and requirements. We know we don’t always get it right but we always learn from our experiences and have a will to continually improve.

It’s very exciting times for FirstPort Insurance Services. We are growing, with plenty of new business on the horizon.  I am confident our customer-centric approach will serve us well and see us taking our business forward in a way that I am extremely proud of.

This article was first published in Finance Monthly in 2017.

*FirstPort Insurance Services is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.