Family run Aynsley Insurance is celebrating 30 years of business in what is now Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre cultural quarter.
The city centre street scene has changed considerably since 1989, while the insurance sector has moved from pens, ledgers and cash payments to rapid electronic transactions.
But Aynsley, based in Piccadilly, Hanley, has expertly ridden all trends, showing year on year growth built on exceptional customer service.
Owners Allan and Julie Carrick were both in their mid-20s and had just got married when they took the brave step of investing in their own business.
“Julie and I met when we were both working in the insurance sector; we got great satisfaction from supporting our regular customers and, when the opportunity to own our own business came along, we leapt at the chance,” said Allan.
“Our first employee, Sean Glover, joined the team within a few days and the three of us have been in the business ever since, with Sean taking on the role as business manager.”
Allan recalled: “We were all young adults and that led to some interesting interviews with some of the insurance agencies questioning our abilities to succeed in our mid-20s, however, our passions for the business shone through and we were able to convince them and went on to build a successful business.
Aynsley Insurance Brokers has grown and now has a nine-strong team. Landmark moments have included the acquisition of Taylor Cartlidge Insurance Brokers, in 2001, allowing Aynsley to diversify its customer base.
Explained Allan: “We were predominantly a personal lines insurer and Taylor Cartlidge had a large commercial client base. They were based just a few doors away, also in Piccadilly, and we integrated the businesses together over several months. Cliff Taylor, the previous owner of Taylor Cartlidge, stayed on with us as business consultant for the next nine years.”
Today commercial insurance makes up just over half the Aynsley Insurance Brokers’ business and Allan has helped to grow the client base by regularly networking with other businesses through the Sir Stanley Matthews BNI referral marketing chapter.
Turning to the changes that he has seen, Allan said: “We’ve seen many businesses come and go and watched the regeneration of Piccadilly as a very pleasant pedestrianised street. There’s been an influx of cafes and bars and the night-time economy has grown, helping to establish the Cultural Quarter around the Regent Theatre.
“There’s also been huge changes in the insurance industry over the years. In the early days, a lot of premiums were paid in cash and on Saturday mornings we’d have a queue outside the door as customers waited to pay their monthly instalments. Today, with advancements in technology, all this has changed, however, we still have a high street presence and our customers can come in and see us at any time.
“When we first opened, we advertised in the Yellow Pages and our customer base spread as far afield as Brighton, Our customers knew that, where ever they lived, they could contact us in the same way as they would their local broker and receive a personal, professional service.
“Today our industry is highly-regulated and compliance is integrated into the core of the business. All our staff complete continuous development training and are highly qualified in all aspects of insurance.
“We pride ourselves on our customer service and this reflects in our high level of customer retention. People can obtain online quotations, but when they need a helping hand, for example if they need to make a claim, we are here to hold their hands and guide them through the process. This is the reason why many people put their trust in independent insurance brokers, such as ourselves.”
To find out more about Aynsley Insurance, please go online to https://www.aynsleyinsurance.co.uk/.
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