In Person: Andrew and Richard Bartlett

Andrew and Richard Bartlett

Bartlett Group’s joint MDs tell Insurance Age about the history of the family business, plans for the future and what it felt like to win at the 2020 UK Broker Awards.

“The industry is set to face significant challenges over the next ten to twenty years, but we’re pretty bullish about the situation and see it as an opportunity for the right broker,” says Bartlett Group director Andrew Bartlett.

Andrew, who joined Bartletts from Chubb in 2009, has been working in the insurance sector for 15 years. His focus now is on business strategy, growth and innovation.

His brother Richard, a former accountant, joined the business during the credit crunch in 2008 after starting his career at PwC.

The two brothers have been leading the company since 2014, when the previous management team retired.

“The way we split responsibilities in the business, it would be difficult for one person to do all of those roles,” Andrew explains.

“So Richard’s focus is on managing the business on a day-to-day basis and my focus is on investing in the future. That’s where both of our passions lie.”

Family affair
But it was not always a given that the two brothers would take over the family business. Andrew did a geography degree at university and went on to work for English Nature, while Richard went backpacking around the world “for several years”.

“When we were growing up there was never any pressure from our dad or family to go into the business,” Andrew remembers.

“But as we’ve matured we both realised that it was a fantastic opportunity.”

Richard adds that it is “a privilege” to work with his brother. “We’ve also got very complementary skill sets which serves the business and our clients well,” he notes.

Bartlett Group was founded in Bradford in 1940 by Andrew and Richard’s grandfather Fred Bartlett. The broker moved to Leeds in the 1960s, where its head office still stands.

We’re very progressive in our outlook and we’ve got a focus on technology. What the 80 year trading history gives us is a strong foundation for values
Richard Bartlett

Fred’s son Michael Bartlett took over the reins in the 1980s. He has since retired but remains with the business as non-executive chairman.

“In terms of the profile of the business, we’re probably not characteristic of what people may feel is a typical family business with that track record,” states Richard.

“We’re very progressive in our outlook and we’ve got a focus on technology. What the 80 year trading history gives us is a strong foundation for values.”

The business specialises in private client insurance, wealth management, corporate risks, employee benefits, financial institutions, prize indemnity, trade credit and small business insurance.

Richard continues: “What ties us all together as a business is the DNA that takes us back to our granddad’s days.

“A fundamental focus on quality and on values, which is easy to say but hard to do.”

Andrew adds: “We’d rather not be in business than be in business and not do a good job. That’s the culture that our father established in the business during his time.”

Award winning
Bartletts was also one of the big champions at this year’s UK Broker Awards which were held virtually last month. The broker won both the Commercial Lines Broker of the Year Award and the Broker of the Year Award.

Richard comments: “It’s fantastic! We were watching the live stream with much anticipation across the business. We’re absolutely delighted to have won the awards.”

He adds that the best part of winning was to receive recognition among the broker’s peers.

“It’s a testament to the quality of staff we have and their hard work and a big boost for everybody in the business.”

In addition to its Leeds base, Bartletts also has offices in London, Philadelphia in the United States, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney and in Kampala, Uganda. It employs 120 staff.

If we find a segment of the insurance industry which is broken, because it’s technical or poorly understood by other brokers and or inefficient we will look to develop bespoke propositions for that sector
Andrew Bartlett

Looking to the future, the brothers note that their focus will be on growing in sectors where a specialty approach adds more value, as well as in the broker’s existing core areas.

“If we find a segment of the insurance industry which is broken, because it’s technical or poorly understood by other brokers and or inefficient we will look to develop bespoke propositions for that sector,” Andrew adds.

Acquisitions
The plan is very much to grow organically, and Richard explains that the business is not actively looking to make any acquisitions.

“However, we made a small acquisition last year in our schemes business and where, from a strategic point of view, there are niche brokers or books of business which would fit our strategy we would do,” he continues.

Asked whether they themselves are approached by consolidators looking to buy the business, Richard notes: “It’s our dad’s name on the Companies House records so he’s the one who is dealing with many of the requests. But we get that on a regular basis.”

According to the brothers, Bartletts has fared well through the pandemic and UK-wide lockdown after successfully moving staff to a home-working environment in March.

The business has an in-house claims team and Richard highlights that the broker’s approach has been to proactively engage with clients throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

“The pandemic did show all businesses across the country how quickly they can adapt to change,” Richard concludes.

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact [email protected].

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Age account, please register now.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an indvidual account here: