Jane Chewins, founder of Jane Chewins Ltd, reveals what it’s like being the new kid on the block with 32 years of experience under her belt; and how the Network helped her to aim for the moon when she set up on her own.
“Hand on heart I have never known anything else,” says Jane when asked what made her want to set up her own brokerage. Having learned the ropes in the family business whilst growing up and gaining 32 years of experience over the course of her career, Jane set up her own company, Jane Chewins Ltd, back in July 2016. “I was an Appointed Rep with Ten Insurance for a few years,” says Jane. “There was this perception that it was a terribly scary and difficult thing to set up on your own, but I wanted to go for it and with the Network’s help, I did.” Jane says that becoming her own boss was the biggest buzz, but it took a lot of courage. “I think if I was any less of a person I’d still be with Ten,” says Jane. “The funny thing is that I actually halved what I was paying on my commissions when I set up on my own with Broker Network.” Jane says that she’d encourage others to follow in her footsteps, but to be realistic about the process. “It’s going to be hard work, but you’ve got to think about the bigger picture. I’m a firm believer in the saying ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.”
Good things come to those who wait…
When it comes to why she chose to join the Broker Network family, Jane says that it was really down to a sense of belonging. “It’s a great network with a great offering,” says Jane. “I was approached by Adam Lee when I was in year two with Ten, and we liaised with one another for three years until my business was big enough.” Jane explains that patience and grit are required when setting up your own brokerage. “One disadvantage from setting up on your own is that it’s an expensive process – there are lots of fees to consider from various parties and you’ve got to be ready to go live when the FCA say go, which means sometimes you’re paying for things that you’re not making use of yet,” says Jane. “But Broker Network was always so supportive and understanding and that really took the pressure off. The Agency & TOBA Management service was superb, and it was brilliant to have the Systems Support Consultancy on hand to help with getting set up on Acturis. The Marketing Consultancy team did a great job at setting me up with a website and helping with things like blogs and email footers, too. The really beautiful thing about the Network is that it’s so people focused – it’s not just a business.”
One in a million
Jane reveals that her biggest achievement since setting up has been hitting the £1M GWP mark. “While I was at Ten my business plan went up by £150K each year,” says Jane. “It was just something to aim for really. When I joined Broker Network I was at £660K per year, and it’s amazing how it gained momentum after that; within 18-20 months I’d reached £1M. I must admit that when I hit the million mark I did cry! I remember Andy Fairchild congratulating me and saying that I should roll the bar out for £1.5M, if not £2M! I wasn’t quite as confident, but things really have snowballed – I’ve recently placed £80K in equine cases and £70K for another client; and it would have taken me a year to place that much business before.”
And the award goes to…?
There’s certainly no stopping Jane, who is expanding her team, beginning a Leadership and Management course at Liverpool University, and crossing her fingers for an award win later this year. “The Marketing Consultancy team have entered a submission for me at the Insurance Marketing and PR Awards,” says Jane. “It would be great for building up the brand, so hopefully we’ll come away with something. At the end of the day what I’ve achieved is down to sheer hard work, so knowing that the business is succeeding is enough for me.”