Chester insurance broker looks to the future after successful first year

A Cheshire-based insurance company is celebrating a successful first full year of trading.

Highlights since the launch of Vista North West have included building a portfolio of more than 50 clients and placing nearly £2m in insurance premiums, as well as supporting local and national good causes.

Managing Director Dan Stockley said: “It’s been a fantastic first year for us.

“We’ve acquired a number of clients of varying sizes and quickly established a presence in the local insurance market.

“As the new guys in town the priority for us remains building relationships with our clients and the wider community.”

The company works with clients predominantly based in the North West.

Dan said: “Offering a personal and local service to our clients is absolutely central to what we do.

“Claims and risk management support for our clients has been and continues to be a strong aspect of our offering. We have assisted a number of clients with challenging claims matters and developed risk management strategies to help businesses contain cost in what has become a challenging insurance market for some sectors – particularly important at the moment with so many other costs going up.

“We believe this is the true test of a broker and the area we add the most value to all of our clients’ businesses.” 

Vista North West is a regional subsidiary of Vista Insurance, and its core staff team is able to draw on the resources of its parent company to ensure the best service for its clients.

Dan said: “Our relationship with Vista helps us to give our clients a really flexible, responsive, top-class service without the price tag that would normally come with it.

“We’re perfect for local SMEs because we can offer them a combination of low cost and quality service that no one else can.” 

Vista Insurance Brokers Chief Executive Gavin Ruben said: “Vista North West has got off to a great start, and I look forward to seeing the business continue to flourish.

“They have a very strong proposition for clients in the North West, delivering a personal service and backing it up with cost effective solutions on every occasion.” 

Alongside establishing the business, there has been a focus on developing community links.

Dan said: “We’re proud to have sponsored Chester Nomads FC, which is one of the longest established clubs in the city.

“Along with my wife I also raised £500 for Autism Awareness by taking on the challenge of doing 16,666 steps every day for a week – no mean feat for someone spending a long time at a desk every day. Autism Awareness is a cause close to my heart, and one that Vista North West will be supporting in the coming year.”

Among Vista North West’s biggest deals in the last year has been working with a Manchester-based vehicle delivery business, and there have been other success stories in sectors as diverse as printing & packaging and furniture manufacture.

Dan said: “Our vision is to become one of the key players in the North West independent regional insurance broker market.

“We continue to develop our network of relationships with the region’s leading professional advisors, including accountants, solicitors and independent financial advisors, supporting their clients and creating solutions to reduce their insurance costs.

“Having launched mid-pandemic, it has been really pleasing to see the business world re-open fully over the last year or so. Meeting our clients in a face-to-face environment is something that we thrive on to build long-term relationships.

“We have ambitious growth plans and look forward to building on the success of this year.”

Grand opening for innovative Cambridgeshire STEM education nursery

A leading scientist was the guest of honour at the official opening of a new nursery in Cambridgeshire specialising in STEM education and learning for early years children.

Prof Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President for BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, cut the ribbon to officially open Shelford Day Nursery, Great Shelford.

The nursery offers a unique science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum in a specially-designed building offering interactive indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

Mene said: “It was a real pleasure to visit the nursery and see the children playing and learning in such a stimulating space.

“Giving children the opportunity to learn through practical play, to experiment and to be creative is wonderful, and I hope the nursery will inspire many children to discover a lifelong passion for STEM subjects and their wider education.” 

The nursery, in a former bank building in High Green, Great Shelford, will eventually cater for up to 59 children ranging from babies to toddlers and pre-school children. 

Interactive learning is a major focus, with children able to enjoy outdoor spaces featuring a range of activities and materials.

Children have the opportunity to experiment with interactive water features, discover properties of different materials in sand and gravel pits and even develop their first engineering skills in a ‘construction zone’. 

There is still a place for traditional childhood games, with activities like hopscotch used to develop maths skills.

And children can gain first-hand experience of the force of gravity on a slide plunging from the first floor of the nursery to the outdoor learning space on the ground floor.

Inside the nursery, children have access to the latest technology, including interactive touch tables and a sensory room featuring colourful lighting and interactive fibre-optic installations.

Nursery Manager Deborah Parfitt said: “The first group of children who have started at the nursery have been having so much fun exploring the space and learning through play.

“It was lovely to welcome guests into the nursery so they could see how well the children interact with the space.

“We’re very grateful to Sir Mene Pangalos for taking the time to visit us and find out more about the unique education we offer.”

The £800,000 project was supported by Growth Works, the strategic economic growth programme launched by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and Business Board to support businesses to accelerate and sustain their growth through consultancy and expertise, workforce skills development, and inward investment. 

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Is the DIY approach to comms and marketing working for you?

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The same, of course, is true of your communications and marketing. Many businesses and business owners try to take a DIY approach these essential functions.

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Why public relations is like a waterproof jacket for your business

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a very keen cyclist.

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Public relations is like a waterproof jacket for your business.

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Check the forecast

Another thing you learn when you’re a cyclist is the importance of planning ahead.

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Your approach to protecting your reputation is just the same.

Fail to look ahead and plan for the circumstances and you could find yourself exposed to the elements.

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How a strong PR strategy can help you gain influence and achieve your goals

What are your goals for next month, next year, the next five years, and beyond?

Can you achieve them alone, or are other people key to meeting your objectives?

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What is public relations?

There are lots of different definitions of PR out there, but here at Rosebank Media we like to think of it as a variety of activities that is focussed on changing the behaviour of defined groups of people.

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Understanding who you’re talking to and what what behaviour change you want to bring about is vital.

Appeal to human nature

One you know ‘who’ and ‘what’ it’s time to think about the ‘how’.

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PR about more than public image. Being well-known isn’t an end in itself. What really makes a difference is gaining something more powerful than fame or popularity – influence.