The Interview… Chris Griffin, managing director of Safe&Secure Home Insurance Limited

The Intermediary speaks with Chris Griffin about recent price hikes in the world of home insurance, and why ‘swimming upstream’ against artificial intelligence (AI) is still a way forward for the industry.

Can you introduce yourself and the business?

I am a proud businessman who is passionate about providing outstanding home insurance via a fully advised journey.

Having been in the industry now for decades, we have the depth of knowledge, passion and expertise and know that now, more than ever, is the time for us to help the consumer find quality cover for their home at the best price with an old fashioned but fast approach.

I have held various positions in the financial services and estate agency or lettings industry over the last 35 years, including Credit Suisse and IMS Lettings Group, which I sold seven years ago to Leaders Romans Group Ltd.

Safe&Secure has a team of more than 30 highly trained, knowledgeable, helpful advisers who have the customer at the heart of the advice we give, and we love it when we can save the customer hundreds of pounds or correct the cover needed on new or renewed home insurance.

The key is always to use quality insurance to protect your property. The UK holds the greatest percentage of money invested, in property itself, and so it is crucial that this asset is protected against perils through home insurance protection.

You take an alternative approach to AI. How and why do you think that now is the time to stay old-fashioned in your approach?

People get frustrated trying to get any sort of service from most supply services, whether this is calling their mobile phone supplier or the water board in their area.

Many of our customers are politely surprised when the phone is answered by a real person within three rings and because we specialise in home insurance – the customer is speaking to a well-trained expert.

Other customers like the fact that we complete the forms for them and give full advice on all products sold.

One customer commented: “It’s hard to get Independent advice these days and I like the choice of 30 different policies you offer.”

Do you think there will be longevity in your personal, human-to-human approach to home insurance?

When we first opened 23 years ago, demand was very different.

Brokers, independent financial advisers (IFAs) and estate agents now want to specialise and don’t want to be involved in every type of product.

Over the years, more and more brokers have chosen to refer their general insurance (GI) to a trusted partner.

At the same time, with the explosion of product choice on the internet, sometimes customers are so confused; they do not know one product from another and just want someone to simplify the choice and help them fill out the many questions about their house and their contents.

Most customers feel relieved when it’s all sorted and do not want to go over the same process every year at renewal.

This is where our unique renewal review with 30 insurance products helps, as we switch the customer to a different insurer if their premiums jump up at their annual renewal.

Just because an insurance product is right for them in year one, it doesn’t mean that the insurer is right for them in two or three years’ time.

Customers don’t get this personal service or ongoing support, and if they fill the forms in themselves online – and more worrying if they don’t fully understand the questions – then it could affect their insurance when they need it most: when they need to make a claim.

It is obvious even with the incredible development of technology it is very difficult to replace the human understanding and advice of complex insurance cover which needs to be tailored to each person’s needs and affordability.

What can the intermediary market expect in the world of home insurance over the next few years, in your opinion?

This is a growing market as the range financial products available increase and change and become more complex, such as pensions where the rules change almost yearly.

Customers want good professional advice they can trust and rely on, to make the right decisions at key times in their lives. There is a need for professional help, now and in the future.

You talk about the importance of putting the customer first and creating better customer outcomes, exactly how do you achieve this?

We try hard to help the customer understand what they need to correctly insure their home and possessions accurately and to a level that will protect their biggest asset.

We find that, by helping the customer to actually understand their home insurance and what it covers, this improves the customer outcome and removes the stress and concerns they initially have.

It’s important to remember in the UK, a person’s home is their castle.

Finally, what are your ambitions for Safe&Secure Home Insurance in 2024 and beyond?

We are excited about the future as our business is growing rapidly.

Turnover grew by over £1m in the year to March 2024, there is a lot of interest from external companies wanting to buy the business we are determined to make it to 30 years as an independent company in business.

The business ambitions will finally be realised as the company is forecast to grow rapidly in a compound way at the fastest rate of growth during the period 2027 to 2030. Watch this space!