Voted by The Judging Panel
Sponsored by Fortis Insurance


Jewell Insurance

The all-woman team at Jewell Insurance in Maidstone, Kent, have had a remarkable 2003.

They have expanded their client base with a successful targeted marketing strategy that is establishing Jewell Insurance as a 'woman friendly' niche player.

The resultant increase in commission revenue has raised £10,000 for the Cancer Awareness Campaign. Owner, Marion Jewell decided to raise £5 per policy for this high profile woman's charity in April this year in order to highlight their empathy with the female market.

Marion Jewell, with more than 30 years' experience in the insurance industry, established Jewell Insurance with partner Keith Warren four years ago.

It was driven by a desire to provide women, particularly young women drivers, with realistically priced policies. During this period the building of an enthusiastic, well trained female team with customer first philosophy has now borne fruit. It has seen an increase 61.5% over the last 12 months in gross premium income.

The brokerage's branded policy portfolio has been widened to include all female drivers and clearly identify market sectors such as florist, local businesses throughout Kent via the women in business, business link networking group. This business has and will be flagged with trade journal press advertising that will embody the promise of personal service, competitiveness and suitability of product. These markets will be predominantly, though not exclusively, female and will be targeted in mid Kent and nationally.

Jewell Insurance will continue its expansion by putting innovation and customer service to the forefront of its activities.

Highly commended

Bruce Stevenson

Bruce Stevenson Ltd was created in 1981 with a view to providing a personal and professional service to its clients. Following the retirement of the founding directors the opportunity was taken to restructure the company to allow it to compete in the fast-changing world of modern business.

This was carried out successfully and led to an unparalleled period of growth over the last 12 months.

Two successful acquisitions were made and the profitability doubled within this period. With the large increase in staff numbers necessitated by this growth the company will be moving to a new head office in June next year. A sustained marketing and public relations campaign has led to a greater awareness of our activities and successes. This, combined with a continued investment in technology and staff training, puts us in a strong position within the industry. The foundations are now in place and the company looks forward to continued growth and prosperity.

Fresh Insurance Group

In early 2002, with over 30 years' insurance experience between them, Lisa McPherson and Alison Foxon decided to make a fresh start by launching their own specialist insurance intermediary, the Fresh! Insurance Group.

From the start, Fresh! has been committed to developing products and services designed specifically for niche insurance markets. In September 2002, Fresh! announced its first specialist motor insurance product aimed at women aged between 17 and 35 - Ladybird Insurance.

With an ambitious five-year business strategy in place, the company has built a strong brand image coupled with extensive consumer coverage throughout the UK and developed strong and worthwhile affinity partnerships.

From the outset, the Fresh! team developed a streamlined operation by ensuring that 80% of the workforce had at least three years' insurance experience and by using effective technology supported by real-time management reports. This had a positive effect on sales and has led to over £1m gross written premiums being written in the first 10 months of trading.

In February, Fresh! went live with a fully interactive quotation website,, becoming the first company to use CDL's new internet solution based on their next generation software, CDL Stra

Fresh! has since gone on to launch Scorpion, insurance cover to suit younger male drivers and those with performance vehicles, and Vanwise, a commercial vehicle insurance service. Badboy Insurance was launched in October 2002 catering for drivers with convictions or a not so good driving history.

In October 2003, further branded websites were added to the web portfolio:, and

In its first 12 months of trading, Fresh! has delivered its promises ahead of schedule and has either met or exceeded each of its ambitious targets.

La Playa

It was a bold move to set up a new brokerage in 1999 but La Playa has more than survived - it's made a significant impact on the broking scene.

Directors Matthew Mullee and Mark Boon wanted to build a brokerage with a difference and their fresh approach and image have turned heads among insurers and clients alike.

La Playa is a small, streamlined and creatively designed outfit. A tightly focused niche player, it targets high margin, low volume business. Its specialist product offerings in high net worth and media, arts and technology, combined with distinctive branding, progressive technology and an emphasis on personal service has helped the company increase turnover by 48% in the last 12 months, with profitability rising exponentially. It has also yielded profits for all its underwriting partners.

A key success of 2003 has been Period Property Insurance, a home policy for period and listed buildings developed for popular website

La Playa provides content and advice for the site which, in the first year, yielded hundreds of new enquiries and significant new premiums.

After just four years, La Playa has established itself as an important player with a presence greater than its head count would imply. Turnover is approaching £2m and its loyal client list is complemented by an extensive bank of prospects and referral sources. Ground has been laid for ambitious new business targets in 2004 of 35%, with larger offices, recruitment and major IT investment. Acquisition is not off the agenda.