Turnamms Assessors

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Turnamms Assessors'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 Turnamms Assessors 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 Tony
Turnamms Assessors’ business ethos is in effect to persist
on behalf of a client until they get the result they are
entitled to – and some have been with them for over
25 years. Founded in 1971 by Brian Samms and Ray Turnbull,
Senior Partner Tony Saunders joined the business in 1979 and
took over ownership when Brian retired in 2007. He is now
ably supported by his son and partner Paul who has been with
Turnamms for 27 years. Today, the business pursues financial
claims for corporate clients in relation to damage caused
negligently to their motor vehicles, buildings, infrastructure or
other assets.
In recent years, our public sector portfolio has blossomed, with funds exceeding
£30 million recovered through claims pursued for central and local government,
transport authorities, police, NHS trusts and highways agency contractors. We work
on a “no win no fee” basis, a model we borrowed from the USA in the 1970s and
which solicitors have only been able to use in the UK since the 1990 Court and
Legal Services Act.
Our contingency fee system, which has also been employed since the 1970s,
charges a percentage of the amount recovered, meaning that the harder we work
the more we earn, so the motivation to succeed is obvious to our clients. This fee
system is very much the rock upon which we have been built and it has enabled us
to become the largest family owned and run claims recovery business in the UK.
Learning and growing
We have a number of clients who run large fleets of vehicles, or own large estates
of property, or are among the largest public sector authorities in the UK, but this
has not been achieved without considerable effort. As with any business, we have
had our setbacks and in one six-month period in the 1990s we lost our three
biggest clients. Two of these were motor insurers and we refused to accept their
change in fee structure, while the other was an insurance broker that referred
private hire clients, but who sadly went out of business. We halved our staff and
regrouped, always espousing the business truth that “Turnover is vanity and profit
is sanity”. The key message I take from the lessons we have learned throughout
this process is the need to believe in what you do and to strive to overcome
setbacks, because they will occur. When you succeed, your business will be
stronger and you will be wiser.
We work as a team at Turnamms and what one member knows, everyone
knows. Spontaneous debate will often erupt about a particular case involving
a technical aspect of the incident or the applicable law. This might not seem to
be very efficient from a business perspective, but it is how experience, wisdom
»Senior Partner: Tony Saunders
»Established in 1971
»Based in Watford
»Services: Motor and property
uninsured loss recovery
»No. of employees: 10
»Tony Saunders has 60 years’
claims experience, heading a
team with a further 85 years
Turnamms Assessors
Persistence is vital in our business, and to highlight this fact the
reverse of my business card reads:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
These words fully articulate our business ethos.
and pragmatism are shared. We do
not want our junior team members
partitioned and staring at screens. I
have never believed in managing from
a box, an office within an office; to
have your finger on the pulse, you
need to be out where the action is.
Our principal adversaries are insurance
companies who have deskilled over
the last 30 years, exporting services
to parts of the world where labour is
cheaper, frustrating communication
and showing few visible signs of
Utilising technology
Technology is a servant of Turnamms
rather than our master. All our clients
receive comprehensive integrated
management reports, but we still
operate paper files from which we
can determine the state of play in any
given case far faster than most insurers
who are often shackled to expensive
IT systems. The lack of response from
some insurers is often a result of a
predetermined business model, one
that is predicated on the knowledge
that some claimants will simply grow
fed up and abandon theirclaims.
This is not what we expect when
paying premiums to insurers, and
the actions, or rather inactions, of
the few tarnish the image of the
industry generally. This situation has
produced benefits for us, however, as
clients bring us problems that they or
their usual claims handlers, including
solicitors, have failed to solve. We
work on the assumption that while
there might be a brick wall in front
of us, if you look and work hard
enough you will find the open door to
walk through. After we have walked
through, we can collect our client’s
money and earn a fee.
For instance, one client came to us
because his father’s motor insurers
refused to settle the total loss value
of the car in which he died after it
had caught fire. The presence of
what appeared to be a can of petrol
in the car suggested to the insurers
that the owner had committed
suicide, hence their refusal to pay.
Further investigation indicated that
the can contained what was most
likely a mixture of oil and petrol and
that his father had simply intended
to spray the underside of the car to
cure a persistent squeak. No means
of ignition were found, and when
we discovered that the father died
wearing his wooden leg containing
his money, the insurers accepted that
if suicide had been contemplated
then his money would have been
left at home. The insurers paid for
the car as well as their policy’s death
benefit that our client did not even
We bring old-fashioned ethics to a
dynamic industry. Above all, our clients
and staff are happy and faithful. What
we do and how we do it has worked
well for the last 47 years and these are
the things that count.
Paul and Tony
This fee system
is very much the
rock upon
which we have
been built and
it has enabled
us to become
the largest
family owned
and run claims
business in the


This article was sponsored by Turnamms Assessors. 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