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Adam Penny

Adam Penny on an open door policy for insurance

By Adam Penny

Managing Director - Penny & Wells

Adam Penny has 30 years of illustrious experience in the insurance industry, with a résumé citing major corporate players including Zurich, GA Bonus, Aviva, A Plan, and Stackhouse Poland. The latter at which he spent 17 years, becoming head of the high-net-worth team, having started as one of a small team that grew to over 700 and was sold to global insurance brokerage Gallagher.

With insurance purchasing becoming increasingly transactional, Adam is now returning to the roots of independent advice with his client-driven company Penny & Wells. Giving provision to business owners and individuals to help them navigate the insurance market with open and approachable advice.

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What type of clients do you help with insurance at Penny & Wells?

The classic client is a business owner and I look after both their business and personal insurances for them. I review their insurances and try to combine them all into one area. A lot of people have policies all over the place and my approach is to sit down with a client and review all their insurances to check for overinsurance, underinsurance, and duplication.
I think insurance people can have a bad reputation and some of it is deserved because I've worked in environments where all they’re focusing on is what they can sell the client.

I think you've got to sit down and establish what they want to cover and what they already have in place – my approach is to understand what the client's needs are, what the risk is, and understand their circumstances or business requirements so that when I'm representing them to insurers, it's like I'm part of the team – I understand and present it fairly to the insurer.

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How do you navigate the complexities of the insurance landscape on behalf of your clients?

Every client is very individual, so the first thing I do is understand what needs covering and what the risk is, and then we go to the markets that we think will quote for it.

It’s really about knowing your markets and there are lots out there, but some of them focus on one type of insurance, so you can narrow it down to the appropriate providers quite quickly.

It shouldn’t just be about price. It should be about the cover and the service that they offer, the proof of any insurance is the claim service – will they pay promptly, without quibble, and get the client back in the position they were prior to the loss?

What advice do you give to everyone regarding insurance?

Insurance is just like everything else you get in life: you get what you pay for. The most expensive insurance policy to buy is the wrong insurance policy, I make sure your policy is valuable to you when you make that claim. It costs nothing for me to do a review and I’m happy to talk to anybody about it.

The problem is people think it won’t happen to them. But sadly, statistically, in the time for this interview, it has happened to somebody – somebody’s house has caught on fire, property has flooded, or they’ve been burgled.

I understand that people don’t want to spend lots of money on insurance, and I can help them navigate that part. But let’s get the right details and let me worry about the premium. From us, you get a good insurer, you get a good premium, and you also get me and my team to fight your corner for you – and the last part of that is invaluable when you’ve got to make a claim.

You’re going to buy insurance anyway, so why not talk to somebody who’s an expert in their field before you do?

"The problem is people think it won't happen to them. But sadly, statistically, in the time for this interview, it has happened to somebody."

Adam Penny - Managing Director, Penny & Wells

How has the online marketplace of insurance affected the industry?

Online didn’t exist when I first started in the early 90s and in my time, so many more organisations have started selling insurance such as banks and travel agents.

I think the online market has its place, but online insurance is very much a non-advice basis, there’s no real buy-in and interest. Claims can be difficult and time-consuming to process. It’s helped me in a way, because actually sometimes people have had such bad experiences with it that they appreciate talking to someone.

I think people still feel the value of buying from people and I’m very much along that line. I enjoy interaction with people, I know my stuff, and if it’s not my area I always know somebody else that will be able to help.

I like to sit down with a client because I think you learn a lot more about them and how you help. If you see a house or a business in person, you have a better understanding and I can give a better representation to insurers.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I like going to the gym and I like running. I’m a season ticket holder at Yeovil Town F.C. because that’s originally where I’m from in Somerset.
I’m a bit of a book reader, and I like a good film – my wife and I enjoy going to the cinema.

I’m also a Rotarian; I’m the commercial lead for Eastleigh Rotary Club. I engage with businesses and help us get sponsorship for events like Rotary Rocks, a concert for the local community to raise money for Eastleigh Basics Bank.

"The most expensive insurance policy to buy is the wrong insurance policy."

Adam Penny - Managing Director, Penny & Wells

What was the last good thing you read or saw?

At the moment I’m reading Paul Merson’s Hooked, and I’m about to start Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO.

I like autobiographies because I think everybody’s got something to teach you – every book I read; I take something positive from. Peter Schmeichel’s book was excellent, and Keith Richards’ book was hilarious.

Adam Penny portrait