Summers & Co

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Summers & Co's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Summers & Co is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Senior Partner Philip
Founded in 1979, Summers & Co was formed as a partnership
that provides a professional and independent insurance
broking service in Dorset. In addition to providing clear and
hassle-free advice, they focus on being involved within their
community. This community feel fundamentally characterises
the company, meaning that there are no middle persons or call
centres based abroad. Rather, they offer their customers close
and meaningful communication and advice. Here to elaborate
upon this is Founder and Director, Philip Maunder.
Our history
I’ve often been asked why we started Summers & Co, and the answer which my wife
and I have given was normally: “to feed, clothe and educate our children”. Well, we
have done it. The children are 46 and 44, and we now have two grandchildren. It’s
been quite a journey.
At the age of 18, I joined the wonderful Commercial Union (CU) in 1965, meaning
that I have 53 years of insurance experience under my belt. During my time with the
CU, I worked in Exeter, Taunton, Dorchester, Bolton and Sheffield. After 13 years
there, it was time to go broking (my father-in-law thought “broke” might have been
more appropriate) and, after a couple of years with a local firm, Summers & Company
was born. Wednesday, August 1, 2018 marked the company’s 39th birthday.
The object was to provide a community-based professional insurance broking service
in East Dorset and, for the first several years, this is what happened. Summers must
have been doing something right, as the “community” became ever larger and
more diverse. Initially, personal lines covers dominated, but, with time, demand for
commercial insurance took over.
More recently
We have always attracted clients from personal recommendation and networking.
Originally, we did this through membership of various organisations where overt
selling would be frowned upon; instead, years of cultivating friendships at a personal
level would tend to produce enquiries and, subsequently, business. Things have
changed today, in that Summers has embraced social media. We especially value
membership of networking groups whose members actively seek to do business with
each other and to support fellow members by the introduction of potential clients. As
before, good and lasting personal friendships are made in addition to the high-quality
business opportunities acquired.
A problem that was recognised some years ago is that very few insurances, particularly
commercial insurances, are arranged on the correct basis. A couple of examples will
illustrate this. Some years ago it was suggested that Summers looked at the insurance
of, for example, a certain manufacturing company. On examining the long description
»Senior Partner: Philip Maunder
»Founded in 1979
»Based in Dorset
»Services: Independent
insurance broking service
»No. of employees: 6
Summers & Co
Summers has always had a
healthy scepticism of tactics
employed by some other insurers
and intermediaries and has
taken its own line on this. For
reasons of humour, we’ve started
“apologising” to customers on
our website in the following way:
We are so sorry that
You cannot speak to a foreign
country when you call us for your
insurance quotation, query or
We are devastated that
We can’t make you press 1, 4, 7,
3, 6 on your telephone in order to
speak to someone who probably
can’t help you anyway
These “apologies”, we believe,
highlight serious points. We are
distinctive in other ways too, for
»When visiting us you can
usually park very close to the
»Our premiums can be much
lower than those offered
by insurers and others who
spend millions advertising their
»We prefer to spend time
establishing your precise
requirements before making
our suggestion for the cover
required at the appropriate
»We are available by phone,
email and even a personal visit
five days a week
Most importantly, though, we
advocate that you
Perlege Verba!
(“read the wording” in Latin)
– a source of confusion which,
ironically, should implore you to
do research. Indeed, by googling
this, you see us.
of the business in the then-current
policy schedule, we discovered that
“manufacturing”, which comprised 90
per cent of the company’s business,
was not covered. This was subsequently
corrected and the company has been
a valued client ever since. The second
example is the absence of vital covers:
a company supplying parts and tools
to an international industry had no
products liability cover, a subject which
had apparently never been raised.
These examples are, of course, in
addition to the ever-present problem
of underinsurance in material damage
insurances, business interruption cover
and liability indemnity limits.
The trendy subject was directors’ and
officers’ cover, which is now more or less
mainstream. “Cyberinsurance” has now
taken on the mantle, with new insurers
and schemes arriving almost daily. The
general impression is that insurers are
becoming more competent in such areas,
particularly with their rating, and it will be
interesting to see the kind of claims that
are forthcoming and the costs involved.
A big move for Summers & Co
Summers & Co traded initially – once
the back bedroom became totally
inadequate – from shop premises in a
small Dorset village near Wimborne.
It didn’t take long to prosper. The
ambition was to base the business in the
much larger, and very attractive, town of
Wimborne Minster. At first, this seemed
unwise as the town had no fewer than
five long-established broking businesses
based in the centre. However, by 2011
there were none. It was time to make
the move. Premises were available
in a building already insured by the
company, and the business moved in.
A conscious decision was made to get
involved in the town and, within the
first six months, I became a director of
the local BID (Business Improvement
District), becoming its chairman less
than a year later. Sue Maunder, my wife
and business partner, became an active
member of the town’s Chamber of Trade
and Commerce, subsequently serving
as its chair for a number of years. As a
consequence, Summers & Co became a
well-known force in the town, a situation
which has since been maintained.
Computer systems and IT generally have
been a significant driving force for the
business from the beginning and now
run quotation, administration, accounting
and communication operations. This,
together with services offered by the
Compass network and RWA (who look
after compliance), has enabled the
business to grow and thrive.
Summers & Co has always been a family
business. Sue and I have been joined in
the partnership by our daughter, Sarah,
and her husband, Adam, both of whom
are experienced (and professionally
qualified) in insurance and financial
services. This satisfies certain Financial
Conduct Authority requirements
regarding business continuity.
Our Grade II listed
systems and IT
generally have
been a significant
driving force for
the business
from the

This article was sponsored by Summers & Co. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister