'It was tough, but we finally got there,' blogs Jonathan Davey

Secrets don’t last long in the insurance market and despite its size and sophistication it still manages to maintain a village feel when it comes to chewing the fat and gossiping. Don’t get me wrong, I like to lean over the metaphoric garden fence and speak about friends, peers and competitors just as much as the next person, but when you’re the one trying to keep a secret you soon realise just how difficult it is.

Over recent months, SSP has been going through the final planning stages for the launch of its own underwriting business, Keychoice Underwriting. Now, after much speculation and many awkward questions, the news is finally out there for everyone to pass comment on and I for one am glad. There has been a huge amount of work in getting things to this stage, but now that we are here, I’m looking forward to explaining our rationale behind the decision and really spelling out to everybody exactly what we want to do and why we want to do it.

We are confident it is going to be an exciting prospect for both our broker and insurer partners and despite the number of new start-ups in this space, we believe that the best propositions have a huge amount to offer. We certainly want to be in this vanguard and over the next few weeks and months a lot of my time is going to be spent making sure we have the things in place to make sure we get there.

There is a whole range of meetings and negotiations to complete with regulators, insurers and other associated third parties. More staff need to be recruited, there are policies to design, wordings to finalise and regulatory permissions to secure.

Now that the press interviews have been done, it does feel like the intensity has come out of the situation, although I get the feeling this is going to be more of a hiatus than a sustained period of relaxation.

In previous roles I’ve learned a lot about setting up and running an underwriting business and I am looking forward to the beginning of next year when we start trading in earnest. I am confident that all of the hard work will pay off, but I know there is still a huge amount to do before the business generates a momentum of its own and proves its long-term worth for the future.

I’m now taking calls from insurers, brokers and prospective staff eager to understand just why our proposition is so different and how we can help them. So one man’s ‘gossip’ is another’s ‘networking’, which in true industry fashion, may eventually lead to a long term partnership.

So while we may be heading deep into holiday season, the last few weeks and months have been pretty hectic from a personal point of view. But now that our so-called secret is out there, at least I don’t have the added problem of trying to keep the inquisitive insurance industry at bay.