ONE of the region’s largest independent brokers is on target to reach a £10m turnover by 2016 citing the agricultural sector as its biggest growth market.
Blyth-based Weir Insurance is expanding its business in Northumberland and is planning to take on more staff, especially young people.
The second generation family business that has an annual turnover of £6m, hopes to expand its offering by opening offices in Alnwick, Berwick and Hexham in the next three years.
The firm is encouraging more young people to embark on a career in insurance via its apprenticeship scheme, which 25% of its workforce is currently enrolled on.
Managing director Karen Weir said: “We currently employ 12 people but we’re looking to grow that number by four or five. We currently have more than 4,000 clients on our books and they tend to stay loyal to us even when they move outside the region.
“We’re looking to make acquisitions of other brokers in target areas such as Hexham and Alnwick and concentrate on the agricultural sector which has been under-represented for a long time. This area provides some great growth opportunities for us because there’s not a lot of competition out there in Northumberland except for the NFU.
“We’re looking for niche products that we can fit alongside what we’ve already got. We’re a one-stop-shop for a customer’s insurance needs because our speciality is that we don’t have one!
“One of the main secrets to our success over the last 40 years has been that we are an intimate business with a progressive outlook on practices such as management and staff development.
“There is a persistent skills gap in the insurance sector which needs to be addressed in order to get more young people into the industry. Apprenticeships and training have been, and will continue to be, a focus area for us.”
Dennis Hetherington has been appointed as account executive, after implementing a farm and agricultural scheme, highly sought after in rural Northumberland.
He said: “When it comes to agricultural insurance, whether it’s cattle or crop, you need an insurance policy that will protect the very thing you depend on to earn a living. We offer a plan that can cover your business, buildings, stock, machinery, vehicles and all other essential equipment.
“With our local knowledge and national expertise we can provide a range of tailor made agricultural and farming insurance plans, working closely with the customer.”