Insurance firm promotes from within

n IPSWICH-BASED insurance service, Blyth Valley, has promoted three members of its team - Carina Steenkamp, Mark Pitcher and Ellan Duncan.

Ms Steenkamp, 26, has been promoted to financial controller from her previous role of financial administrator.

She previously worked as an auditor in private practice, and will play a dominant part in financial planning at Blyth Valley.

Ms Duncan, 38, becomes operations manager having started at the company in 2005 as a junior ICT support member.

Mr Pitcher, 26, takes on the role of ecommerce manager, having started with the firm as an admininistration assistant.

Managing director Valerie Hockley said: “These three promotions are a reflection not only of Blyth Valley’s own growth and progression, but of the great individuals we have working within our business and of their determination and commitment.

“We work hard to find the right people to reflect our culture and to provide a team which serves our customer base as best as it possibly can.”

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n A STRING of new client wins at independent creative agency Crafted Media – including Notcutts, West Suffolk College and the national hi-fi retail chain Audio-T – has resulted in the recruitment of four new members of staff.

Sophie Mason joins the Ipswich-based company as pay per click manager, overseeing the company’s paid search campaigns and helping to increase the scope and reach of Crafted Media’s paid search offerings. She graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2007 with a degree in Society, Culture and Media and previously worked for CheezeDMG on accounts including the British Heart Foundation, Oxfam and the Holiday Cottages Group.

Kate Southgate brings the dedicated copywriting team to two. She was previously employed as editor-in-chief of Maddog Magazine following a journalism degree at the University of Lincoln.

Dan Whitehouse is senior search marketer and joins the company from Unruly Media, where he’s worked on both the Stella and Sony accounts. He has a degree in Business, IT and Marketing from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Tom Griffiths becomes sales and marketing director and has over six years’ business development experience working for a wide range of digital agencies on major accounts including HSBC, Tesco Personal Finance and Champagne Bollinger.

The recent appointments follow similar expansions in both halves of 2009, and the team, just six at the beginning of 2008, now stands at 20. Further appointments are intended with plans to expand the development team already under way.

“We continue to expand our workforce with diverse appointments that add to the growing skill set pool spread throughout our teams,” said commercial director Brad Warwick.

“In this industry it is essential to remain abreast of best practice and technical developments – the employment of key talent is essential to achieving this.

“As well as providing a superior service to new clients, as the economy improves many of our current clients want to expand their online offerings, drawing on the range of services we offer to gain an edge in the competitive post-recession climate.”

n A NEW practice manager has been recruited at Colchester solicitors Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP.

Paula Fowler joined the firm in April and will be responsible for financial and premises management, marketing and business planning, human resources and IT. She brings with her a wealth of experience having held appointments as a practice manager and managing partner at another local law firm. Ms Fowler has also run her own business providing accounting and practice management services to solicitors practices for over 20 years. She is a Lexcel accredited consultant, and was a finalist in the Colchester Businesswoman of the Year award in 2007. She will be a judge in the nomination for the 2010 awards.

Senior partner Tony Fisher said: “I believe that Paula will be an asset to the firm. She has all the qualities and energy to oversee the next stages in our own expansion as we look to spread our services to other parts of the county and to a wider public through the website and internet.”

Ms Fowler, said she was “delighted” the firm and “looking forward to the challenge of successfully leading the firm through the legal services reforms next year and beyond”.

n MATTHEW Woraker has joined Ipswich-based claims outsourcing solution providers, Countrywide Accident Assistance (CAA) Ltd, in the new role of operations manager.

Mr Woraker will be managing the operational teams who handle motor claims on behalf of the company’s book of leading fleet insurers, as well as its many blue-chip, self insured clients from the retail, chemical, DIY, electronics and fast-food restaurant sectors.

CAA, which was established just under six years ago and grew by 34% last year, is continuing to recruit and moved into new 12000sq ft premises in Ipswich’s Felaw Maltings at the end of last year.

Mr Woraker said: “Joining CAA at such an exciting time is a fabulous opportunity. It is clear the directors have plans to expand the business and whilst CAA is a relatively new name in the industry, it has already built an enviable reputation for providing a quality service.

“The role of operations manager will be to oversee and grow the claims handling team whilst maintaining the high level of quality. Currently we are taking around 12,000 calls a month and our approach is very clear. There’s a real focus on customer service based on prompt responses, reliability and transparency,” he said.

“To consistently deliver exceptional customer service and minimise claims cost, we need some very robust systems and processes in place. As we grow, we have to make sure the infrastructure grows with us.”

Reporting to the board of directors, Mr Woraker will have overall responsibility for the entire claims process. This includes first notification of loss, claims management and engineering.

He joins CAA from Liverpool Victoria, where he managed a claims centre with more than 100 staff. Prior to that he worked for Capita Assistance and Zurich Insurance.