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.
Summers & Co
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | SUMMERS & CO
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.
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.
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
AT A GLANCE
SUMMERS & CO
»Senior Partner: Philip Maunder
»Founded in 1979
»Based in Dorset
insurance broking service
»No. of employees: 6
Summers & Co
35SUMMERS & CO |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
»PROBLEMS WE SEE IN THE INDUSTRY
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
(“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
been a significant
driving force for
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.