Kingsbridge Turns 15: An Interview with CEO Steve Wynne
If you didn't already know, we just celebrated our 15th anniversary here at Kingsbridge. As part of our ongoing celebrations, we sat down with CEO Steve Wynne to ask him about the past, present, and future of Kingsbridge. Without further ado, here's what we discussed:
Kingsbridge: Can you give us a brief history of Kingsbridge?
Steve Wynne: Kingsbridge was started in 2001 by myself and my wife Janet, resulting from a management buyout from Jardine Lloyd Thompson. We were on holiday in Devon and needed to decide on name. The name needed to be strong, and to relate to water as that was, and remains, a key sector for us. We were driving through the town of Kingsbridge and it ticked all the boxes. That's how Kingsbridge began.
K: What are the company's biggest achievements to date?
SW: I'm very proud of the fact that we still have the majority of the original staff that were with Kingsbridge at the start. The vast majority of clients that were with us then are still with us now too. Starting the Guernsey arm of Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Insolvency Insurance Solutions, in 2005 was a huge step for us, and was closely followed by the establishment of Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance in 2007. We achieved coveted Chartered Insurance Broker Status in 2011, and received investment from Livingbridge EP in 2014, allowing us to push forward further and grow quickly.
The rapid growth of Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, and our investment in the Kingsbridge headquarters in Tewkesbury, has led to an ever-growing team of over 40 people in that area of the business alone.
K: What is your proudest moment in the history of Kingsbridge?
SW: I wouldn't say that there's one single moment I'm more proud of than any other. I'm most proud when I look back at what we've done from where we are now. It wouldn't be possible for Kingsbridge to be the company it is today without the hard work and dedication of a lot of people.
K: When you started Kingsbridge 15 years ago, did you think about where it would be today?
SW: Our vision when we started Kingsbridge was to have a small number of high value clients to be a niche, boutique insurance broker able to compete with the big players in our chosen sectors. We wanted to use our intimate knowledge of the sectors, the businesses in which our clients work, our experienced staff, and our enthusiasm and commitment as the foundations to build the business upon.
K: Do you feel like you've achieved your aims, or is there more to do yet?
SW: I can't foresee a scenario where I ever put my feet up and consider my work complete. There is always more to do. A lot of my focus at the moment is on the continued development of Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, and our aim for it to become the global insurance brand for freelancers and contractors.
K: What has humbled you the most during the last 15 years of Kingsbridge?
SW: Without question, the dedication and commitment shown by the staff here. To arrive at the office for 7am and find young, hungry, passionate staff already in is very humbling. To have staff so committed to the vision of the company is a big part of the reason why we've grown as we have.
In addition to the hard work of our staff, I will always remain thankful to those key clients and partners who took a leap of faith with us when we were starting out, and who have now been with us for years. Those people provided us with the strong foundations on which Kingsbridge was able to grow.
K: Can you tell us a bit about the company culture at Kingsbridge?
SW: First and foremost, customer service is paramount. The commitment to service at Kingsbridge is absolute. We seek to provide exactly the same levels of service to our contractor clients as we do to the larger corporate clients we have who spend millions each year.
Alongside that we like to foster a culture that is family orientated and paternalistic, as well as providing an environment for young staff to grow into and make a career out of. Our staff work very hard to give the best possible service for our customers, and we like to reward them in turn.
K: What are your plans for the future?
SW: We want to continue the success we've had to expand whilst still focusing on our specialisms. It's also very important that we empower the younger staff to take on the legacy of the business.
In another 15 years I see us as still being an independent insurance broker, focused on a number of niches, with Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance being the worldwide contractor insurance brand. As we've always strived to do, our clients will still be known by name rather than just by number.
K: Thanks Steve, and congratulations. Here's to another 15 years!
SW: Thank you.
If you're a contractor in need of insurance, or if you just have some questions you'd like us to answer, you're more than welcome to get in touch with one of our customer services team on 01242 808740. Alternatively, you can talk to us on social media on our Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook pages.