Broker’s founder on challenges and what drove him towards insurance

They say necessity is the mother of invention… in the case of Sentinel Insurance Solutions founder and managing director Jon Duncan (pictured), who was a self-drive hire operator for many years, it was his frustration at what he described as “the lack of service the insurance industry provided this much maligned sector” that drove him to establish the specialist broker.

Duncan “decided to do something about it,” he told Insurance Business.

“Our primary goal is to be the broker of choice for the self-drive hire industry – offering a bespoke service to our clients,” said the MD about the route he plans to take for the business.

“It’s been tough at times to resist diversification but we can still say that we are a true self-drive hire specialist as we don’t do anything else. Upholding our high standard of service is a daily priority for the Sentinel team.”

Having operated for a decade, the Peterborough-based broker has met a number of challenges in the sector along the way. Those in recent years, according to Duncan, include staged claims, Insurance Premium Tax hikes, the collapse of unrated insurers, and the use of hire vehicles as weapons.

“In years gone by theft was the primary concern for a self-drive hire operator,” noted the “lifelong” Wasps supporter. “Nowadays the main concern isn’t getting the vehicle back – it’s what that vehicle has been involved in while it’s been on hire.”

Meanwhile it looks like the broking boss is in it for the long haul.

To the ‘which industry would you leave insurance for’ question, Duncan replied: “I love what we do, so this isn’t something I have really thought about. Probably something to do with classic cars.”

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