Kingsbridge Turns 15: An Interview with CEO Steve Wynne

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.

Read more

Kingsbridge Turns 15

Kingsbridge Birthday 1

“No wise man ever wished to be younger,” Jonathan Swift once wrote. That particularly sage piece of wisdom is now over 300 years old, but it retains just as much relevance today as it ever did. The older you get, the better you become. Although it’s an adage Swift intended for his fellow man, it works just as well for a company. Kingsbridge turned 15 at the end of March and we’ve aged well. We know our customers, and the contracting community, better than ever. The company has grown hugely since 2001, both in terms of staff and the contractors, freelancers, and independent professionals we look after.

Read more

Customer Champion of the Year – Insurance Times Awards 2015

Insurance Times Awards 2015

We’re delighted to say that we’ve recently picked up another awards nomination, to go along with our nominations for Digital Insurance Initiative of the year at the British Insurance Awards and Best Banking, Insurance & Financial Services eCommerce at the eCommerce Awards, alongside our shortlisting for Affiliate Member of the Year at the APSCo Awards for Excellence 2015. This time we’ve been nominated for Customer Champion of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards, an accolade we’re particularly delighted with. Our customers are the foundation on which Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance is built, and we’re very pleased to be recognised as a company that goes out of its way to put the customer first. We’ve always sought to provide the best customer service possible, and we’re continuously looking for ways we can improve further.

Insurance Times is the media partner of choice, and premier news, information and insight brand, for general insurance in the UK, with an audience of key decision-makers, business placers and principals in brokers, insurers and service suppliers. The awards take place on 1st December at Battersea Evolution in London. We’ll keep you updated on any future nominations or award wins right here on the Kingsbridge blog.

In the meantime, if you’re a contractor or freelancer looking for insurance then why not get a quote online, or get in touch with one of our client services team on 01242 808740 or at info@kingsbridge.co.uk. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook too.

We’ve Been Nominated at the APSCo Awards For Excellence

APSCo Awards For Excellence

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted as a finalist for Affiliate Member of the Year at the APSCo Awards for Excellence 2015. Alongside our recent nominations for Digital Insurance Initiative of the Year at the British Insurance Awards and Best Banking, Insurance & Financial Services eCommerce at the eCommerce Awards, we’re happy that our hard work in making sure we provide the best possible service for our contractor and freelancer customers is paying off.

APSCo, short for The Association of Professional Staffing Companies, is committed to identifying, promoting and celebrating best practice and excellence in recruitment. Since 1999 they’ve showcased best practice through their Annual Excellence Awards. Winners have to pass a rigorous assessment process that makes the Awards one of the most prestigious accolades in the industry. We’ll keep you updated on any future nominations or award wins right here on the Kingsbridge blog.

In the meantime, if you’re a contractor or freelancer looking for insurance then why not get a quote online, or get in touch with one of our client services team on 01242 808740 or at info@kingsbridge.co.uk. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook too.

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

We’ve got some exciting news from Kingsbridge HQ. From today we’ll be known as Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance. If you currently hold a policy with us you don’t need to worry – nothing is changing apart from our name and website address. You’ll still get all the familiar benefits, the same excellent customer service, and the unbeatable, comprehensive insurance cover. You can now find us online at kingsbridge.co.uk.

Why the change? Since our very first day we’ve always been fully committed to contractors and independent professionals, and we wanted to reaffirm that commitment by changing the most visible part of our business: our name.

Since we formed Kingsbridge in 2007 we’ve seen the contractor community grow from strength to strength, and we’re proud to have been a part of that. As the contractor marketplace continues to develop, we’ll be there with our experience and our expertise, providing you with the insurance cover you’ll need to protect yourself in business. As always, if you need to discuss insurance, or if you have any questions about working as a contractor or an independent professional, we’d be happy to hear from you. You can contact us on 01242 362176, at info@kingsbridge.co.uk, or on Twitter @KingsbridgeCI.

Compliance a vital factor as the number of contractors continues to rise

Compliance

New figures released have indicated that the number of individuals entering the contractor and freelancer community has dramatically increased over the last 7 years.

Research published towards the end of April 2015 illustrates that there are now 1.88 million independent professionals in the UK. The study, which was carried out by Kingston University and commissioned by IPSE concludes that there has been over a 35% increase in highly skilled contractors since 2008.

Moreover, recent numbers from Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, a specialist insurance broker for contractors and freelancers, support the fact that there is a strong growth in the importance of compliance and meeting obligations in the contracting market.

Dedicated to assisting contractors with their insurance needs, Kingsbridge have seen a strong increase in the number of contractors taking out an insurance policy with the company during 2015, clearing indicating that compliance is a significant factor.

Thomas Wynne, Head of Business Development at Kingsbridge comments: “the last few months have been phenomenal, particularly with our team reaching record policy numbers. This is a clear indication that not only is the freelancer market increasing, but, with Kingsbridge offering a comprehensive insurance cover package, our policy is meeting all of the necessary compliant requirements for contractors.”

It is highly recommended that all contractors have adequate insurance in place before undertaking any role to cover their main exposures and meet contractual obligations, and based on these recent results in the contracting market this could be an exciting and important time for Kingsbridge.

For further information about Kingsbridge and their insurance solution please visit www.kingsbridge.co.uk

The insurance products no engineer can afford to forget

Engineering Insurance

We understand that when you’re freelancing, you want to focus on the job at hand and creating the best work possible. Sometimes, insurance products don’t come at the top of your to-do list and can seem like an unnecessary expense.

However, if you’re a freelance engineer, you occupy a unique and interesting position when it comes to insuring yourself. Your work is based on problem solving and solution finding, and more often than not, your work product will affect the public, not just your end client. It is for that reason that gaining access to adequate insurance cover should be at the very top of your to-do list!

What’s more, many (if not all) freelance contracts stipulate that a freelancer must be covered by a minimum amount of insurance, so your future contract jobs could depend on having access to quality insurance.

Read more

National Freelancers Day 2014: I Love Freelancing Because…

iPad Prize

In our humble opinion, 2014’s National Freelancers Day was the best yet. It’s an event that grows bigger and better every year, and one that draws necessary attention to the essential role that freelancers play in the UK (and international) economy. You already know that we sponsored and attended various events on 19th November, but those of you who aren’t Twitter savvy might not have seen the competition we ran in the build-up to the big day.

The idea was simple – encourage the large freelance community on Twitter to tell us exactly what it was about being a freelancer that they loved the most. As long as the Tweet began ‘I love freelancing because…’ then there was a chance to win. We decided to give away a £20 Amazon gift card to five runners up, and an iPad Mini 2 to one lucky winner. The competition went live on 3rd November and ran until midnight on the 19th.

Amazon Vouchers

We received a brilliant selection of entries – some hilarious, some from the heart, some business minded, but all communicating perfectly exactly why each entrant chose the freelance life. After much deliberation we narrowed down the field to the six finalists whose Tweets resonated with us the most. Take a look below:

The winner:

@mummyblogger: I love freelancing because it offers the perfect mix of variety, flexibility and challenge and means I can work in my PJs!

The runners-up:

@Bitsnark: I love freelancing because it turns me into a productivity swiss-knife; broadening my experience and building my skills.

@FreelnceParents: I love freelancing as it lets me design my own work life..the hours I choose…the projects I love…MY career in MY hands

@lee_brickley: I love freelancing because I earn more than my friends wearing only my pants

@Pezmc: I love Freelancing because I can work on the projects I love using my own schedule & spend time more with my partner!

@greendipped: I love freelancing because it is my hands on those handlebars. It is a rollercoaster ride, but it is my ride

 

All in all, a pretty perfect summary of the reasons why freelancers choose to strike out and make it on their own. We really want to thank everyone who took the time to enter, to those who helped us spread the word, and to the winners sharing images of their spoils on Twitter. We loved every Tweet that came in, and we hope you enjoyed National Freelancers Day 2014 as much as we did.

Meet The Kingsbridge Team – Lauren Costello, Client Services Advisor

As promised, here’s the next installment in our ‘meet the Kingsbridge team’ series.  Our next victim participant is Lauren Costello, champion show-jumper and future zoo keeper.  Thanks for taking part Lauren.

Name: Lauren Costellolauren

Role:Client Services Advisor

How long have you been working with KPSOL?

Since November 2011

What does your job role include?

I speak with at least 50 people a day on the phone as well as responding to email enquiries.  Most of the conversations I have are with freelancers and contractors who are interested in the KPSol insurance package and either want to put a policy in place or have questions about the cover levels and whether it’s the right policy for them.

I also work with some of our business partners.   Often accountancy firms are keen to ensure their contractor and freelancer clients have the necessary insurance in place and many recruitment agencies insist on it before they’ll add them as candidates.  KPSol works closely with them to help them provide an end to end service.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A famous show jumper, a vet or a zoo owner (I’d actually still like to own a zoo)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Making a difference for a client is important to me and when I can do that I get a real buzz.  I also count myself as lucky to work with some brilliant people so just being in the office is enjoyable, even if I’m having a tough day.  We have a lot of fun.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Last year I went to the Gastech exhibition at ExCel in London.  One of our specialisations is in providing cover for Oil and Gas professionals and this is a huge, global event for the industry.  It hadn’t been held in the UK for 40 years (it’s in South Korea next year!) so I was really lucky to be able to attend and meet so many people in the industry.

What is your favourite thing about the company and what makes them different to work for?

The company has grown quickly over the last few years and it’s given opportunities to and invested in a young team (myself included) and it continues to do that.  Although traditionally the Client Services team would probably be referred to as a call centre, we’re encouraged not to be robotic, to build a real rapport with our clients.  We’re involved in planning and agreeing processes and we have regular communication from senior management around strategy and developments in the business.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Horse riding and watching the rugby.  I’m also a cinema addict!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

When I was younger I won the regional Jump Cross event on my horse, it’s a mixture between show jumping and cross country.  I was also on a TV show with Eddie Izzard once, I can’t remember it though!

Any advice you could give to someone looking to get a job in a similar environment?

You need to be very proactive.  Although most of the enquiries the Client Services team deals with are inbound, we still have to actively build relationships with our clients and make sure we’re answering their questions quickly and accurately.  You need to have a passion for customer services and also a willingness to learn and develop a good understanding of your clients’ needs and the insurance industry in general.  It’s hard work, but really satisfying.

What do you think makes Kingsbridge stand out from other insurance providers?

We’re often able to cover people who haven’t been able to get insurance elsewhere, or who thought they would have to pay thousands to get cover.  The set package of insurance is designed so our clients have peace of mind that they have the right cover, without the time and confusion they can experience from sourcing separate policies from multiple providers.

Any advice you have for freelancers or contractors looking for insurance?  

It’s vital that you’re adequately protected and equally, that you’re protecting anyone who might be affected by the work you do.  Don’t assume that you are automatically covered by your agency, your accountant or your professional body.  This is not always the case and we have so many contractors getting in touch, panicking as they won’t get paid until they can provide proof of insurance.

 Where do you hope to be in a few years’ time?

The plan is to get more involved with the work that the team that manage our partnerships and affiliations do.  I’m training with them at the moment, working towards a role as an account manager. 

We’ll be featuring more Client Services profiles over the coming months.  If you need to talk to a member of the team for a business insurance quote you can call on             01242 808740 or send an email to enquiries@kpsol.co.uk.

 

May Contractor News Round Up

Your monthly round-up of May’s top contractor news.

There are so many information sites for Freelancers and Contractors (see our Top 10 sites for freelance and contractor news post) and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to stay up to date with the latest news.  So, we thought you might appreciate a monthly roundup from some of our favourite sites.

Youth entrepreneurship is soaring:

New figures have shown, that despite what people may think or say about the youth of Britain, that many are trying to become productive members of society by going down the entrepreneurial route. Many are taking the option to become self-employed instead of waiting for the right job to be available for them.

The stats were found in a YouGov study, with 30% of those questioned saying that they would be self-employed in the future, whilst a quarter said they’d be their own boss within five years. If these young people followed through on their plans, then it would see an increase in 5% on top of those young workers who are currently self-employed.

Since 2008 the amount of young self-employed has risen by 71,000. This is obviously due to the lack of employment options for graduates. So it does make sense for them to try working for themselves which can only be good news for the economy

Umbrella companies are suffering from low usage from freelancers

According to new stats, only 15% of freelance workers are using payroll umbrella companies. There are thought to be around 1.6 million professional freelancers in the UK and so this new statistic means there are over 1.35 million who are not using an umbrella company to help them manage their earnings.

Main issues people had when surveyed were the costs associated when using an umbrella company and misunderstandings over the role and benefits from these types of companies.

Phil McDonald the Managing Director of Paraplus, who conducted the survey said, “These findings should be a wake-up call for the umbrella industry. It makes for tough reading that 26.5% of freelancers don’t understand exactly what an umbrella company does and 14.5% don’t even know that one could help them.”

Will the self-employed be re-categorised as employees?

The taxman now says that there are two situations in which individual LLP members will next year be treated as if they were employees and therefore liable to pay income tax.

There are two situations in which, from April 2014, LLP members will be treated as if they were employees of the LLP, who will then have to operate PAYE on payments to the member.

These are the two situations:

  • On the assumption that the LLP is carried on as a partnership by two or more members of the LLP, the individual would be regarded as employed by the partnership by reference to the normal tests of employment.  These deal with matters such as control, the requirement for personal service, financial risk, the ability to profit from sound management, and so on. In some cases it will be plain that the terms on which the “salaried member” is engaged are indistinguishable from employment: in others (especially in ‘eat what you kill’ partnerships) it may be very easy to show that relationship is not one of employment.
  • Alternatively, HMRC proposes to treat a salaried member as an employee if he or she is not an employee under the first test but is nonetheless someone who:

– Has no significant economic risk (loss of capital or repayment of drawings) in the event that the LLP makes a loss or is wound up;

– Is not entitled to a significant share of the profits beyond the “fixed share”; and

– Is not entitled to any significant share of surplus assets arising on any winding-up of the LLP

That’s our May round-up of Freelancing news. If you have any comments or questions, leave a post below.  We’d also love to hear from you if you have any other sites to reccommend or regular features you’d be interested in reading.