In September, John Palmer, founder of the Coversure Poole Group of offices, was named a finalist in the 2021 British Franchise Award in the ‘Resilient Riser’ category. This special award attracted entries from over 50 franchised businesses who were keen to demonstrate how, with the support of their franchisor, they managed to survive and thrive during the pandemic.
John’s story is one of collaboration. Of putting people first and of overcoming adversity, and, as we’ll see, it’s easy to see why the judges chose to make him a finalist.
John became a Coversure franchisee in 2015 following a successful career with A-Plan. His first office, Coversure Poole, was such a success that he took ownership of Coversure Weymouth three years later. In late 2019 his business was flourishing, and he was planning the acquisition of a third office. Then the pandemic hit, and everything changed.
Like many independent business owners, John saw his world turned upside down overnight. Unlike many independent business owners, however, John had the backing of a franchisor that was determined to do whatever it took to ensure his business weathered the storm.
Weeks before the lockdown was announced, Coversure made provision for offices to remain open, even though their doors were closed. I.T. enabled remote access to centralized systems, sourced laptops for office staff, and Coversure invested heavily in online communication channels to maintain customer service.
“I have to say that Coversure was on this early. While a lot of businesses – including some of our clients– were unsure as to what to do, Coversure did all they could do prepare us for the difficulties that lay ahead.”
Insurance Broking: It’s All About People
John took steps of his own. Like many Coversure offices, John’s businesses operate from high street offices and offer a face-to-face personal service. To maintain their award-winning levels of customer care, John eschewed furlough and instead kept as many of the team working as he could despite the sudden downturn in new business.
He suspected clients would need his help, and he was proved correct. Lockdown caused a rush of calls from concerned clients as they sought clarity on everything from business interruption to unoccupied property cover.
His commitment to putting people first paid dividends. As restrictions were lifted, the team received a flood of gratitude from clients. In keeping with the best community broker traditions, they had been there when people needed them most. What’s more, to his delight, John found he’d even managed to grow his business over the year.
“Go Big Or Go Home”
While the lockdown was gruelling and not without its heartache, successfully coming through it reinvigorated John. No sooner were restrictions lifted than he announced his intention to buy another office, Coversure Maidstone.
“It’s been a classic case of, “Go big or go home” and I’m certainly not going home! Thanks to Coversure’s support and that of my amazing team, we’ve come through this with a bigger, better business. All I can say now is, roll on 2022…”