News: Strong 2021 performance and plans for growth in 2022.

Innovating By Collaborating | Aston Lark

23 September 2021

Bruce Stevenson is now part of the Aston Lark group who employ over 1,600 people in over 55 offices around the UK and Ireland. They place commercial, employee benefits and private clients insurance, and have several specialisms and sub-brands. Their ambition is to join forces with other like-minded insurance businesses and become the UK and Ireland's leading independent Insurance Broker. 

Bruce Stevenson’s CEO, Edward Bruce, recently took time out to discuss our shared visions and goals with Aston Lark CEO, Peter Blanc.

EB: Peter, we have known each other for several years, and you will also have been very familiar with Bruce Stevenson’s work in Scotland. Why were you keen to bring Bruce Stevenson into the Aston Lark family, and what strengths of the Bruce Stevenson brand do you expect to see thrive in the larger group?

PB: Over all my years in insurance whenever the topic of insurance broking in Scotland came up, the Bruce Stevenson name has always been regarded as being the highest quality business in the market. When Stuart Rootham and I discussed how we could grow in Scotland we agreed straight away that trying to acquire Bruce Stevenson would be our plan A … and we didn’t have a plan B!

We’re very fortunate that the business has true strength in depth – a large team of high-quality directors and account executives able to take advantage of our newfound scale and specialist capabilities around the group. I’m particularly excited about what we can do in the areas of renewable energy, housing associations, food and drink and private clients.


EB: Even at this early stage our teams are integrating, and the shared working mindset is ‘innovation not revolution’. One obvious question our clients may have is how this change in ownership, after 40 years of successful trading, will be good for them and what they stand to gain. 

PB: I sincerely hope that the outcome will be that clients will still enjoy all of the same benefits of having Bruce Stevenson as their insurance broker – high-quality personal service and attention to detail, but in addition, clients will benefit from being part of a larger group; we’re much more important to insurers as a broker that’s fast closing in on placing £1billion of premium. Whilst that doesn’t guarantee that insurers will always do as we’d like (wouldn’t that be lovely!) it does give us “top table” access to the highest decision-makers who all know that we’re a really important business partner.

Clients will also be able to benefit from having access to our employee benefits division and the various areas of specialist knowledge around our wider business, such as Cyber Insurance (with Catherine Aleppo), Directors and Officers (through Protean) and Professional Indemnity (through Brunel), Marine Craft Insurance (through Haven Knox Johnston, Euromarine and CRS Yachts), Renovation Insurance (through Renovation Plan) etc etc – and as we grow this list of possibilities just grows with us!


Last week, Aston Lark enjoyed a superb night at the British Insurance Awards. The group won four of the top honours including the highly coveted Insurance Broker of the Year award, the biggest award in the insurance calendar.


EB: There is clearly much synergy between the cultures of Bruce Stevenson and Aston Lark, but if there are differences, what are they and what can each firm learn from the other?

PB: I couldn’t agree more that the cultures seem incredibly aligned – if I could summarise it I’d say that we’re all in this for the right reasons – looking after clients, helping our people enjoy great and fulfilling careers and making sure that we never do anything that damages our reputation. Doing the “right thing” sits at the very heart of what we stand for.

As for our differences, I’m keen for us to always be open and willing to consider doing things differently. Both Bruce Stevenson and Aston Lark will have ways of presenting info to clients, putting together insurer presentations and broking business – we can always learn from each other and we should be constantly aiming for a “best of breed” solution, regardless of where in the business that solution might originate.


EB: We are a people business, how is BSIB’s integration into the AL Group good for Bruce Stevenson staff? Our clients like the continuity of a Bruce Stevenson staff contact and they will be concerned this could be broken.

PB: When we buy a business we’re literally buying two things – physical assets (like desks and chairs and monitors) and intangible assets – principally the goodwill of the staff and clients. Keeping staff excited, engaged and happy has to be our number one priority. I hope that staff will already feel that our hearts are in the right place – caring for our staff is part of our DNA. In practical terms I’d like to think that the integration brings other real benefits – access to training resources, group resources around wellbeing and personal mental health for example – but also further career opportunities.

It doesn’t happen very often, but we have already had situations where individuals have moved across the country and we’ve been able to transfer their job to another team in another office – we will always look to support valued colleagues, whatever challenges life is throwing at them. As part of a larger group, the chance to take on a new role or seize a new opportunity will be increased and I’d encourage everyone that’s growing their career to take advantage of these chances. 

My hope is that the Bruce Stevenson team will feel encouraged, empowered and happy as part of this wider growing group and if I can help in any way then please just get in touch!


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