Marsh Commercial argues small business centres will succeed

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CEO of the newly-revealed Enterprise Centres of Excellence, Mandy Walton, argues why the Marsh plan will succeed where others have failed.

Marsh Commercial is developing five “Enterprise Centres of Excellence” in five regions which will be operational from 2020.

Insurance Age revealed today (25 November) that the centres will be located in Bristol, Glasgow, Harrogate, Leeds and Worcester.

In an exclusive interview, Mandy Walton, CEO of the Centres of Excellence, talked about the development which followed the news that four local Marsh Commercial branches are set to close.

The five locations are set to deal with small businesses and, as a guideline only, will look after business with a GWP of under £2,500 a year from all over the UK.

Multi-channel
Walton was keen to highlight that this is not a hard-and-fast-rule and that the individual needs of customers have been considered. Those who wish will receive a face-to-face service from someone closer to them in the Marsh network of brokers.

According to the CEO the centres will offer a multi-channel approach with online also being an option.

She commented: “We are looking at spending under £2,500 but it isn’t a hard and fast rule.”

She said customers would be served from the channels they wanted to trade via either on the phone, online or face-to-face and stressed that the five branches will still serve local clients in addition to business from all over the UK.

Walton insisted: “They are definitely not call centres.

“My view of a call centre is lots of people with headsets and answering anything. We are going to have fully advised, fully accountable advisers and they will have a book of clients.”

Regions
The locations were chosen because the staff in these regions already had good experience of broking to smaller businesses.

“They already understand small businesses so we built on that,” Walton explained.

The changes come at a time when Marsh Commercial, which was rebranded from Jelf following the appointment of Anthony Gruppo as CEO, is undergoing a number of changes.

Staff in the business are currently under consultation regarding the closure of four branches and potential redundancies “in the low three figures”. It is believed further branches may shut under the initiative which has been code-named Project Wolverine.

Consultation
Walton declined to say how many staff would be working at the Centres of Excellence or how much GWP was likely to go through the centralised functions annually due to the consultation still being active.

In the past there have been several high profile failures of centralised broker call-centres for small businesses.

However, Walton believes the Marsh Commercial proposition offers something different with the branches still keeping a “local focus”.

“I am passionate about SME business communities,” she stated.

“They make up the lions’ share of UK business. Providers have tried to be very prescriptive [in the past] but the approach we have taken is the right one.

“We have talked to the businesses and we understand their requirements and we are not having a one size fits all approach. That will be the difference,” Walton added.

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