Ryan Insurance Group wins pitch to launch niche cover for beach hut owners

Tim Ryan, executive chairman of the Ryan Insurance Group.

Tim Ryan, executive chairman of the Ryan Insurance Group. - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk-based Ryan Insurance Group has made a successful pitch in a “Dragons’ Den” style contest to secure funding for innovative products.

Ryan was one of five firms to receive a share of a £100,000 investment fund under UK General’s “Schemes Seat” initiative following presentations to a panel of judges at the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) Conference in Manchester.

The Ipswich company, which is a member of UNA, an organisation representing 12 of the UK’s largest regional brokers, plans to use the funding to develop its idea for a beach hut insurance policy.

Its research, following the tidal surge in December last year which damaged many beach huts, has revealed a very limited number of companies offering a product of this type and UK General, a specialist in innovative insurance solutions, will now back Ryan’s business plan with a combination of platform provision, marketing and business support.

Tim Ryan, who is executive chairman of both the Ryan Insurance Group and UNA, said: “Over 6,000 beach huts are located in East Anglia and we believe this provides us with a strong opportunity to capitalise and get close to those communities.

He added: “The ‘Schemes Seat’ funding will enable us to develop and launch a quote and buy web trading facility and appoint a dedicated marketer to help launch our new product with UK General and get close to other beach hut communities around the country.”

Karen Beales, managing director – schemes at UK General, said: “Ryan Insurance Group’s beach hut scheme idea was typical of the most innovative schemes we’ve seen during our Schemes Seat initiatives this year.

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“It shows what can be achieved by bringing together a broker that identifies a niche market opportunity with a specialist insurer with the necessary expertise to take highly individual and consumer-focused schemes to market.”

The Schemes Seat was open to UK brokers with schemes opportunities promising a minimum gross written premium of £150,000. It was designed to support brokers with innovative scheme ideas but requiring the support of a specialist schemes insurer to fulfil the objectives of the proposal.

The pitch process replicated that of the Dragons’ Den BBC TV show, with a former “Dragon”, business angel and multi-millionaire tycoon Richard Farleigh sitting on the panel alongise UK General chief executive Peter Hubbard, Karen Beales, and co-founder and director of Thistle Initiatives, James Dingwall.

The other broker businesses that submitted successful business proposals to the Schemes Seat were Best Insurance, Square Mile Insurance Services, New Moon Insurance Services and The Warranty Co UK.