The loss adjuster’s managing director believes there is room for growth in the mid-ranking loss adjusting arena

In January, Van Ameyde Group-owned Woodgate and Clark purchased 100% of the share capital of Manchester-based Quadra Claims Services, a fellow UK loss adjusting business, to claim “a foothold” in the personal lines claims market. Now, the business is gearing up to focus on organic growth instead, with plans to expand into the mid-market loss adjusting arena, according to managing director Phil Scarrett.

Buying Quadra aimed to provide Woodgate and Clark with complementary services in niche and specialist personal lines.

Woodgate & Clark

Phil Scarrett

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Scarrett says: “We knew that if we were going to move into personal lines claims that [it] would take a lot of investment up front to build something, so an acquisition made real strategic sense to gain a foothold in that sector.

“Quadra really helped us there because they have got a good reputation - they have a similar outlook on life to us. It’s all about treating policyholders as individuals and [offering] a more bespoke service.”

As a result of the acquisition, which includes Quadra-owned specialist building contractor network Quadrassist, Woodgate and Clark now works with 72 vetted and approved building contractors and 21 surveyors, engineers and architectural consultants, providing nationwide coverage.

This means that rather than only sending a loss adjuster into the field to gather estimates, a “well-managed network of building contractors can be brought in to help carry out the repairs, rather than [leaving] a private household the headache of finding a builder for themselves,” adds Scarrett.

Furthermore, if a business is going to be successful in the personal lines claims market, then a fulfilment model is essential, he continues.

In terms of future acquisitions, Scarrett says that thanks to the full support of Woodgate and Clark’s Holland-based parent company, the Van Ameyde Group, the loss adjuster is keen to expand further in the UK, as long as potential purchases align with the firm’s values and approach. There is no set timetable for an acquisition pipeline, however.

Scarrett notes that for the Van Ameyde Group, the UK is an “important market”. 

In the meantime, “let’s invest in training, recruiting, [and] retaining quality adjusters – showing insurers the quality of our service”, Scarrett says.

Targeting mid-market growth

Following growth by acquisition thanks to Quadra, Scarrett is now focusing on building organic growth at Woodgate and Clark. One way he believes this can be achieved is by growing in the mid-ranking loss adjusting arena - a sector he feels has been hollowed out by consolidation in recent years.

“There’s a gap in the middle there which I think from our point of view, we would like to fill,” he explains. ”It gives you more of a base to invest in training and development, it makes you more of a player that people will be attracted to come and join you and work with you.

“It is about growing into that space, but at a pace that we don’t lose that focus on service.”

Loss adjusters of the future

Building on these growth aspirations, the business has seen a 15% increase in its headcount over the last two years, not including January’s acquisition of Quadra.

Head of human resources Lyndsey Moore says the loss adjuster is expecting to hire 15 new staff in 2021, and while qualifications are the key criteria for new appointments, she is also keen to increase the number of female loss adjusters in the business.

“At the moment, 10% of our adjusters are women, although 44% of our total workforce is female,” she says.

“Statistics from the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters shows that there are more women qualifying as loss adjusters than men, so I am optimistic that we will be able to increase the proportion of women in our loss adjusting team during this latest recruitment effort.”

Woodgate and Clark is also thinking ahead to “finding and developing the loss adjuster of the future”.

Scarrett says: “Not so many years ago, everybody would think of a loss adjuster as a grey-haired chap with a [notepad], pen and a tape measure. There are still plenty of them around and we love them and value them for the expertise they have got.

“Thank goodness there are a lot of much younger people too, but [loss adjusting is] not a dream go-to job when you’re leaving university or you are leaving school, so finding talent, attracting them to what we do and training them is a key thing for all loss adjusters, not just ours.

“Insurers are certainly very keen to know where their loss adjusters are coming from in 10 years’ time, so insurers show a great interest in our succession planning and our training and development programmes.”