Profile: Mersey corridor thrives in tough market

While many businesses may have struggled during COVID-19, Liverpool insurance broker Griffiths & Armor has emerged prosperous with annual sales of £300m. Reporting by Tony McDonough

Martin Hawken, Director of Client Services at Griffiths & Armor

Liverpool insurance broker Griffiths & Armor says it has thrived in the tough market during the pandemic with annual sales now topping £300m.

Founded in Liverpool in 1934, the firm has earned a reputation as one of the UK’s best-known independent insurance brokers. From its headquarters at Princes Dock in Liverpool, Griffiths & Armor also operates bases in London, Manchester and Dublin, employing approximately 180 people, with around 150 based in Liverpool.

The company has continued to grow over the last two years, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and now sells around £300m in commercial insurance premiums to the market each year. It is a local business with a genuine national profile.

Griffiths & Armor is divided into two divisions. They are Griffiths & Armor Insurance Brokers, which offers insurance brokerage to companies in multiple business sectors, and Griffiths & Armor Professional Risks, which serves white-collar clients such as architects, accounting and law firms, and engineers. consultants.

You will run insurance products for both large commercial companies and SMEs in many sectors including manufacturing, retail, leisure, construction, charity and non-profit organizations. The firm also has a private client team that will look to provide personal insurance products for individuals within its client base.

“The private client team is becoming a growth area for the business and we are looking to develop it further,” said Martin Hawken, director of client services at Griffiths & Armor, who has worked at the firm since 1986. He explained how he was performing strongly. in a world that has changed rapidly since 2020.

“We got through this pandemic thanks to a strong culture and the great people we have within the business,” he added. “We invested in technology and quickly pivoted to enable people to work from home. That, in turn, allowed us to take care of our customers and find new customers as well.

“No one was furloughed during the pandemic and we made sure everyone continued to get paid in full. The claims team, in particular, has done a terrific job, and we’ve actually increased our workforce by 10% in the last two years. It has been a true success story.”

For many years, Griffiths & Armor’s Liverpool headquarters were located at Drury House on Water Street, in what was until recently the heart of the city’s business district. However, in 2017, the company moved its office to 12 Princes Dock on Liverpool’s waterfront, occupying 18,000 square feet on a 10-year lease.

Working from home and flexible working is now much more the norm for many organizations. Griffiths & Armor has implemented a hybrid approach with people splitting their time 50:50 between home and office. It has been claimed that hybrid working leads to lower productivity, but Martin says the opposite is true for the company.

Coming out of the pandemic in a strong business position, the company has found itself in what he describes as a “tough market.” He explained: “A tough market is when there is a reduction in capacity in the insurance market and premiums can become more expensive.

“Even before the pandemic, the market was tightening and COVID has provided the icing on the cake. This is the first tough market in 17 years and has given way to a tougher trading environment.

“However, instead of struggling in this market, we have thrived. It suits us because it allows us to shine and really show clients what we can do. We have been able to secure deals that other brokers couldn’t. And, again, that’s a testament to the good team we have here.”

Griffiths & Armor now also has an international reach. It is the UK representative for the Assurex Global partner network, which links 600 independent agents and brokers from around the world, and sells $30 billion in policies a year. Such is the company’s position in the network that it has brought Assurex’s annual global conference to Liverpool.

One of the fastest growing areas for business is cyber security. Martin said: “Cyber ​​attacks on businesses have become a growing global problem. It’s scary enough for large organizations, but for SMBs it’s of particular concern.

“There is a growing realization that all businesses are now at risk from the activities of cybercriminals. We have a member of our team here who is now a cybercrime specialist and can help our clients in this area.

Martin Hawken
Martin Hawken says Griffiths & Armor thrived during the pandemic
No 12 Princes Dock in Liverpool Waters, home to Griffiths & Armor

“In addition, we offer our clients access to an online risk management platform called RMworks. Available at no additional cost, it offers extensive levels of risk management advice and guidance that can prove invaluable to any business. Provides claims intelligence, data analysis, and centralized reporting.

“What this shows is that Griffiths & Armor is not just about selling insurance policies to people. We offer ongoing full support packages for all our customers that add significant value to their business and we are always ready to educate them on the market.”

Martin adds that Griffiths & Armor is an active member of the Liverpool City Region business community. He is involved with organizations such as Professional Liverpool and the Liverpool BID Company. And he also supports charities and good causes, including Kids In Need and Distress (KIND) and the NSPCC.

“Griffiths & Armor plays a leading role in the Liverpool City region in many ways. We employ people in skilled, well-paying jobs. And we’ve brought people into the business and offered great career paths. We are also founding members of the Liverpool Insurance Institute.

“Right now we are in the middle of a five-year plan to grow the business and we intend to do so not through acquisitions, but through organic growth. We have a fantastic reputation as a business throughout the UK and we are looking to build on that.

“The key to our success is the quality of the people we have here in the business. I have been here for almost 36 years and we have others who have been here for a long time as well. This business is like a family and the dynamism and skill that our people possess gives us great optimism for the future.”

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