When we had the opportunity to ask our Broking Director Steve Fleming some questions, we jumped at the chance. We wanted to gain a rare insight into what it takes to make NDML the Premier Insurance Broker for the late night leisure and hospitality industry.
Twenty years in the industry is a considerable length of time, you must have seen many changes?
Indeed, it’s certainly a more difficult and competitive market than it ever used to be. Changes in government legislation, predominantly The Licensing Act 2003, which came fully into force in November 2005 and the smoking ban in July 2007, has altered the licensed trade considerably, almost beyond recognition.
Flexible opening hours for licensed premises were introduced with The Licensing Act 2003, with intention of minimising public disorder and discouraging the binge-drinking culture. With an increased number of premises now enjoying late licenses, the differentials between the traditional urban based pub, bar and nightclub are now very much blurred.
In addition, the smoking ban has had a considerable impact on the market. Obviously from a healthier lifestyle perspective, the ban can only be viewed as positive; however there is no doubt in my mind that there have been serious ramifications for many pubs and clubs, especially local village establishments.
Coupled with less disposable income and the appeal of cheap drink offers from most supermarkets, the social habits of most consumers have altered considerably and many view staying in as the new going out, alternatively they drink to excess at home and reach their first destination already intoxicated, which is neither safe for themselves or the licensee.
In light of what you have just said, what do bars and clubs etc. have to do to survive in such a difficult market?
Finding a niche is essential.
In my experience the clubs and bars that survive are those that offer something unique, it isn’t always the larger venues that are the most successful. Consumers are looking for individuality, they want something out of the ordinary, be it the venue, drink selection or music choice; it has to be distinct.
Operators who have vision, who are willing to take risks and have the desire to break from the norm tend to be the ones that have are able to galvanize interest in their venue. If they find that niche, they are then in a better position to enjoy some longevity in their business or even expand and grow to other venues. With economic pressures as they are, people are more particular where they spend their money, operations that offer something special will undoubtedly see the best returns.
What are the challenges that you currently face as an insurance broker?
Whilst NDML continues to grow its client base in terms of numbers, (NDML currently act for over 700 independent nightclub & late bar operators throughout the UK), it is clear that the turnover in venues and operators around the country is relatively high, much of our time is spent keeping abreast of which venues are opening/closing or changing hands.
As with all industries the insurance market is highly competitive but often that competition comes from brokers or insurers who are inexperienced in or unsuited for the late licensed leisure trade. Whilst it might be easier for clubs and bars to seek advice on their insurance through on line facilities or high street brokers, I’m often finding they are under insured or inadequately covered; this is incredibly dangerous in such a litigious society and can be detrimental to their business in the event of a claim.
It is imperative that operators seek professional, honest advice from brokers who are both experienced and operate with integrity. The cheapest quote initially often turns into the most expensive in the long term.
What then does NDML offer that is different to the rest of the market, why are you considered the Premier Insurance broker for the industry?
As the official broker to Best Bar None, NDML are constantly seeking innovative risk management techniques and working practices. We take a strong stand on spurious liability claims and work with the client’s best interest at heart.
As well as experienced insurance specialists, NDML provide in-house account handlers and award winning claims managers, which allows for constant communication between us and our customers.
The ethos behind our company remains the same; a customer focused specialist insurance broker which prides itself on an ability to provide lasting and effective products to our range of clients.
On a personal level, having just celebrated your ten year anniversary, what makes NDML such a great company to work for?
The working ethos of all NDML management is transparency and honesty, the desires and ambitions of the company are openly shared with the workforce, promoting integrity from within. We have a proven track record and are widely respected by our peers.
I appreciate that ten years with the company might seem like a long time but in truth, the majority of staff that work for NDML have all served similar periods of time, clearly illustrating their level of commitment and loyalty to the company. The company’s dedication to mould and develop people is testament to their success and why it has been necessary to re-locate to a larger office space next to the Leeds Bradford Airport.
The new site is double the size of the previous head office in Horsforth and much more suited to accommodate an award winning operation! It offers quick and easy access to Leeds and Bradford city centres and the motorway network, meaning we can service current and future clients even more effectively.
And finally, any career highlights from the last ten years with NDML?
Being the accredited insurance broker to NOCTIS (until their demise in 2008) and also to Best Bar None in 2009, for which I had to make a personal presentation in the House of Lords, is a fantastic achievement and one which is highly regarded in the market.
This has enabled us to gain greater credence within the late licensed trade which in turn has allowed us to win and retain clients in the face of stiff competition. The thrill of securing new and renewal business is what we as a business thrive on and what keeps us turning up each morning eager for more!
About NDML Insurance
We are one of the biggest names in late night leisure insurance industry. Because of this we have the ability to provide an inexhaustive list of insurance needs, many of which are exclusive products unattainable through any other broker in the UK.
Against ‘no win, no fee’ culture
In a society that is heavily influenced by the ‘no win, no fee’ culture, it is ever more important that companies trading in the leisure industry have adequate cover for all aspects of their business.
Unfortunately, due to the diverse trading styles and activities of the industry, both physical and legal risks are probable as the general public become more aware of their rights. NDML are fully aware of the litigious culture thus offer bespoke, tailored made policies specifically designed to meet the individual requirements of their various clients.
In the past year we have been nominated for no less than four awards. We won the UK Claims Excellence award for Customer Care Initiative and were finalists in the Insurance Times Awards for Claims Initiative of the Year.
Who we work with
We provide comprehensive insurance for all manner of late night leisure and associated businesses, including Late Bars, Night Clubs and Gaming/Amusement venues and pride ourselves on being the broker for many of the industry leaders include Gatecrasher, Tokyo Industries, Harewood Entertainments and CPL Entertainment Group.
To get in touch with NDML insurance to gain personalised coverage for your bar, pub or nightclub, contact us on 0344 488 9205 or use our contact form.