Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Team with Real Assurance

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Team with Real Assurance

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Plews

A Middlesbrough lad who always wanted to be his own boss is now in charge of a multi-million-pound company.

"It's not often that you hear lads saying they want to be in insurance or financial services when they leave school but that was always my ambition," says Andrew Gunn.

And today the 45-year-old is chairman of Teesside Insurance Consultants, which turns over more than pounds 10m a year.

Andrew launched the company in 1986 from the back bedroom of his Marton home with an initial investment of around pounds 20,000, which included personal savings and some borrowings.

As business grew, the company moved to Linthorpe Road in 1989 before finally moving to its current headquarters on Riverside Park in 2002.

This last move has followed internal growth and acquisitions in pursuit of becoming the Tees Valley's leading independent corporate insurance broker.

"I think that position has just been reached with our latest acquisition - of Usher Foster Partners which took effect from January 1," says commercial director Paul Davison.

"Earlier acquisitions were Wray and Co and Colin Rowe Insurance Brokers and our major competitors have relinquished their independence by having been acquired by national organisations."

Andrew's first job was with Eagle Star, now part of the Zurich Group, before the urge to move on took him to London, where he worked in the insurance division of the then Midland Bank, now part of HSBC.

An urge to broaden his horizons and travel saw him working for insurance companies in South Africa.

"It was an experience I enjoyed but not one I wanted to live for the rest of my life," he says.

"Technicalities meant that I would have to emigrate there in order to get a work permit, but I'm a Middlesbrough lad and always intended coming back to start my own brokering business."

He returned to the Boro in 1983 and worked for a local insurance company, gaining more experience and building a reputation for himself until the chance came to own his own company.

"When the chance came I grabbed it. I had no formal business experience but jumped at the chance to run my own company - basing my belief in myself on the long hours I was prepared to work and putting the client first - if you don't put the client's interests first you've got no business," he says. …

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