The broker’s chief executive says the refreshed business strategy enables the firm to go ‘deep and wide’ in particular market segments and ‘grow back into its shoes’

Upon joining Howden-owned broker Endsleigh Insurance in June 2020, chief executive Alison Meckiffe immediately sought to tackle what she viewed as the broker’s main challenge – that despite being “a known and trusted brand”, the business “really needed to grow back into its shoes” and “grow back into its core space”.

After meeting her new team, therefore, Meckiffe started her tenure at Endsleigh by conducting “a review of the composition of the business”, the findings of which then informed the broker’s new four-year strategy. This is centred around servicing three customer niches: students, educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations.

The focus provided by this “three things strategy” will help “simplify the business” and enable Endsleigh to provide “deep and wide” propositions to these demographics, Meckiffe tells Insurance Times.

Now about 10 months into the strategy’s roll out, Meckiffe explains that Endsleigh has started out by revamping its engagement with students.

Originally, Endsleigh had a presence on university campuses - in part because it was founded by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 1965. This approach ended about 18 years ago, so Meckiffe has sought to bring “Endsleigh back to campus, but in a 21st century context” through the launch of “a new digital app” that is “very much focused on safety, security and wellbeing”.

Taking four months to develop, the app – called My Endsleigh – underwent concept testing last June before being launched to first year university students in August 2021.

Acting as “an introducer”, the app goes beyond simply signposting insurance policies – it also offers a wellbeing hotline, for example.

“We’re really excited to have launched [My Endsleigh],” Meckiffe says. “The strategy around [the app] is to [engage with] one million students - that’s 50% of the student market - and we’re well on the way to that.

“By year three, we would hope to be in the hands of one million students and we’re in the hundreds of thousands now, so the engagement is really good.”

Cradle to graduation proposition

The next prong on Endsleigh’s strategy is the “cradle to graduation proposition” for educational institutions. This aims to provide commercial insurances for nurseries, schools and independent schools, further education colleges and universities.

For example, Endsleigh already has a “very high market share” in block hall insurance, covering “the first year accommodation for students”, Meckiffe adds.

The final customer segment Endsleigh is homing in on is “not-for-profits”, including “leisure trusts and charities”.

Meckiffe says this niche “came to us by accident over time”, however it is now “a core strength” thanks to the trend of Endsleigh-aware students who “had a leading role within their student union” moving to work in the charity sector following further education.

Plus, “because the NUS remains a shareholder and [it is] actually a charity, it’s a logical space for us to occupy,” Meckiffe notes.

With this in mind, Endsleigh is exploring the possibility of offering a parametric-based event cancellation product for charities.

New year, new goals

To date, Endsleigh’s new strategy is “really resonating”, Meckiffe says.

She continues: “[Endsleigh] was a business that needed to grow back into its core space, which was going to be around understanding where the opportunity is versus where it’s not.

“[This includes] being able to really leverage the knowledge in the business, the awareness of the brand and engage with the markets to look at adjacencies as opposed to new markets, because Endsleigh doesn’t really fit in any other markets than the ones that we’ve identified.”

In 2022, Meckiffe says the focus for Endsleigh will be “getting out there and really helping people to understand the strategy and strength that Endsleigh has got in these [market] spaces”, as well as increasing face-to-face communications and “really accelerating the road map for the My Endsleigh app”.

New features on the app, for example, include the introduction of a parametric travel insurance policy for students travelling on a gap year, covering pre-booked flights that are cancelled. Endsleigh plans to launch this in conjunction with insurtech Setoo in January 2022.


Alison Meckiffe Headshot

  • June 2020 – present: Appointed chief executive of Endsleigh Insurance.
  • February 2017 – March 2020: chief marketing officer at Cigna.
  • October 2013 – January 2017: held roles at Axa UK, most recently as chief operating officer, direct and retail partnerships.
  • September 2002 – June 2013: held roles at TUI Travel, lastly as digital strategy and business development director.