At a glance
- Knightsure’s Tony Knight emerges victorious after gruelling finals day in London
- Hundreds of brokers entered competition, which was sponsored by Zurich
- Winner’s specialist subject was on Tony Hancock, the English comedian and actor
With the title of best broking mind in the UK up for grabs, hundreds of insurance brokers have been competing against each other in this year’s BrokerMind 2013 contest.
There is now, though, just one broker left standing – Tony Knight, managing director of Knightsure.
Run by Insurance Times, the annual BrokerMind competition, which is sponsored by Zurich Insurance, launched with much fanfare back in May at the BIBA 2013 conference.
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.
Of the 650 applicants who entered, the competition was whittled down to just 12 contestants, who headed down to London in mid-October for the final. It saw the 12 semi-finalists quizzed by Mastermind presenter John Humphrys in four groups, until Tony finally emerged victorious.
Zurich Insider caught up with Tony to congratulate him on his success.
Q: Tony, many congratulations on winning BrokerMind. How was finals day?
A: It was pretty tense. However, the feeling when it was over was wonderful. In fact, the entire competition was nerve-wracking, but that’s the format at the end of the day.
Q: Similar to Mastermind, the format of the final of BrokerMind saw contestants answer questions on either insurance knowledge or a chosen specialist subject. What was your specialist subject in the final?
A: I chose the life and times of Tony Hancock, the English comedian and actor. I used the same subject when I entered BrokerMind last year – when I came third – and I’m a big Hancock fan. I used to watch him on TV as a kid, which gives away my age, but he was just an incredibly funny guy.
Q: And how did you fare on the insurance questions?
A: It was mostly general insurance with some general knowledge that Zurich’s underwriters had put together. Some of the questions were a little obscure, such as conviction codes for aiding and abetting driving without a licence. In fact, I don’t think anyone got that question right. But I wouldn’t like to be a question setter, because you never know where to pitch it.
We also had questions based on the colour and temperature of certain sprinkler heads, which were hugely technical. But overall, the questions were all quite random, and I think everyone had a similar difficulty of questions.
Q: Was the competition from smaller or larger brokerages?
A: Actually, there were a lot of major companies, such as Aon, Bluefin, Lark, as well as a few smaller ones.
Q: So, were you the underdog?
Q: Your brokerage, Knightsure, provides a wide range of different forms of commercial lines coverage. Did this give you an edge in BrokerMind as you were familiar with so many different types of insurance?
A: Probably not, as there were a lot of other brokers there in similar positions. I knew a lot of everyone else’s questions, but, with the pressure, many people were kicking themselves afterwards going ‘I knew that one’. So, I think everyone was on a level playing field.
Q: You have now come third and first in the last two years. Will you be entering next year?
A: I think I’ll probably quit while I’m ahead [laughs again]. However Dave W Smith, Managing Director, UK Commercial Broker at Zurich Insurance, said that next year they might pose questions that are relevant to brokers’ working lives. This year, there was a whole mix from personal lines to commercial, to risk surveyors and so on. It was luck of the draw really.
Q: With regards to Knightsure, your brokerage, what forms of insurance and services do you provide?
A: We’re a commercial insurance brokerage, so a small bit of personal lines, but mainly commercial property, commercial motor fleet, liability insurance, D&O, professional indemnity, marine cargo and most things a business will need.
Q: And how is Knightsure coping with the ever-changing industry these days?
A: Regulation is always a big concern, but being a member of the Broker Network has helped enormously with my business. We’re an independent brokerage, which I own, but with the backing of the Broker Network, it means I can focus on being an insurance broker.
They provide help on things like compliance and relationships, and things of that nature, but it means I can compete with the big boys and still give the service of a small local firm.
Q: Well, we hope you’ll return next year to defend your title.
A: I’m still coming down from cloud nine after last week, so I’ll have to think about it [laughs again].