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Supermodel’s legs and cyber risks. All in a day’s work for Henshalls’ Dave Williams

At a glance

  • Dave Williams, a director of Henshalls, is quizzed by Zurich Insider on the insurance industry as well as some off-beat topics
  • Shropshire-based broker talks about what keeps him up at night
  • And why brokers need to embrace the changing marketing environment

In operation for over 40 years, Henshalls Insurance Brokers is one of Shropshire’s largest brokerages. Zurich Insider spoke to Dave Williams, one of its directors, about the challenges Henshalls is facing, what emerging risks are concerning him and insuring the legs of fashion models.

Q: What lines of business do you specialise in and what are the opportunities and challenges you see there?

A: No specialities, we are just a good old-fashioned general insurance broker with clients of all shapes and sizes.

Broker Voice gives UK brokers the opportunity to voice their opinion on the state of the insurance industry, outline what makes their own personal style of business different from their competitors, and what personal interests enhance their professional life.

Q: Are you on social media? If so, what’s your Twitter handle/LinkedIn profile?

A: Yes, we see social media as vital to the delivery of our marketing messages and as a means of maintaining client contact. Our Twitter handle is @henshalls. I am also on LinkedIn.

Q: Does the rise of the aggregator model worry you?

A: Not overly. We are confident that our clients value the high customer service levels and professional advice that we provide.

Q: What industry changes keep you up at night?

A: Currently, it is compliance and the lack of service and knowledge within insurer claims departments. As I come from a claims and loss adjusting background, I am concerned about the quality of insurance company claims staff, particularly given the recent round of redundancies. Insurer claims departments seem happy outsourcing building damage claims to ‘building contractors’ rather than experienced loss adjusters, and we continually have to ‘fight’ insurers to get correct decisions on liability.

Q: What do you think are the biggest emerging risks, and why?

A: Cyber crime. So much business is now transacted online that it would be foolish to ignore the risks. And there were even a number of arrests recently in sleepy Shropshire relating to cyber crime.

Q: Is the market hardening?

A: It’s trying to, but it is not happening just yet. The market isn’t quite ready for it, but there is still plenty of competition and willing underwriters.

I think brokers need to embrace the changing marketing environment, develop better ways to communicate with insurers and clients, and learn to maintain their market share in an ever-increasing competitive environment.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for brokers these days?

A: I think brokers need to embrace the changing marketing environment, develop better ways to communicate with insurers and clients, and learn to maintain their market share in an ever-increasing competitive environment.

Q: Do you think brokers are recognised enough by the public for the value that they add?

A: No. Too many consumers are confident to act as their own ‘brokers’ through the purchase of online products. The same cannot be said of business clients, the majority of whom value our expertise.

Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to get cover for?

A: A well-known fashion model’s legs.

Q: Rugby or football? And the team you support?

A: Both, but mainly football. Liverpool FC.

Q: Fees or commissions?

A: Commissions.

Q: If you were head of the Financial Conduct Authority, what would be the first thing you would do?

A: I would employ more people to support brokers.

Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?

A: “Come on Dave Will”

Q: Newspaper or iPad?

A: Newspaper.

Q: What is your favourite word, and why?

A: ‘Mon’. It’s a good old Salop [Shropshire] word, that was recently revived and is now a common welcome around the county town. It’s usually preceeded by ‘Ow do’.

Q: Can’t get through the weekend without…?

A: A fix of alcohol, cricket in the summer and Match of the Day in the winter.

Image © Getty

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