Play by your own rules: Sales director Craig Dinnewell tells Insurance Age why setting up Logic Insurance Services helped him realise his full potential
▶ How did you come into insurance?
I used to be an actor in the West End. Then I met my wife and we wanted to settle down, so I started looking for a career and a trainee role at Henderson Insurance Brokers came up. I was familiar with some people who worked there and they told me it was a good career. So I jumped in at the deep end and I’ve never looked back.
▶ Why did you start up on your own?
I was working at Henderson’s but was encouraged by a number of people to set up my own brokerage. We’re based in Pontefract and started trading on 1 February 2018.
▶ How big is the team?
It’s just me. There are two other directors, but they’re not involved in the day-to-day business. I’ve also just hired somebody to help me with compliance, but she only works about five hours a week.
▶ How hard was it to get up and running?
It was a slow process, but I wouldn’t say it was ridiculously difficult. The main application to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was time consuming. Waiting around for it was the hardest part. I’m a Broker Network member and they helped me a lot and gave great advice.
▶ What are your targets for your first year?
Our target in terms of gross written premium is around £250,000 for the first 12 months.
It’s a lot of hard work, but if you’re prepared to put the work in I highly recommend it. You get to play by your own rules
▶ Where do you see yourself and the business in five years’ time?
Hopefully we’ll have five to 10 members of staff working for us and we’ll be a recognised name in the Pontefract area. We want to be a local broker that local people can trust.
▶ Who helped you along the way with advice?
Insurance is such a massive support network, even within other local brokers. I’ve turned to people who I’ve built up relationships with over the past five years and pulled on more than I expected to. But that’s how we get to where we are in this industry – through relationships.
▶ Did anyone help you with funding?
I have two businesses helping me with funding until I am self-sufficient. Right now I’m funded by Logic Lettings and financial adviser Craig Hewitt.
▶ What lines of business are you seeking?
We specialise in property owners and SME, for example contractors and sole traders and blocks of flats.
▶ What is the local competition like?
There are quite a few other brokers in the surrounding areas. A lot of them have been around for 20 odd years. I have no existing book so every single piece is new business. The more established brokers here don’t seem to have grown for the last five to 10 years, so it might perk them up a bit with a new kid on the block. Competition is good for the clients.
▶ Was setting up stressful?
There were some stressful moments because there was a fear of the unknown. You don’t know what you’re doing. When you’re sitting down with the business plan you’re in at the deep end, but it’s also rewarding. It took us months to get authorised, but you have to look at the long-term picture. The process takes time, but I can understand why. They have to make sure you can run the company.
▶ Would you advise other people to go out on their own?
Yes, it’s honestly the best decision I’ve ever made. I enjoyed having the comfort blanket of a big company, but I wouldn’t have realised my full potential if I hadn’t gone off on my own. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you’re prepared to put the work in I highly recommend it. You get to play by your own rules.