Our Existing and Development Account Handler, Alana McCulloch, dedicates much of her personal time to her love of horses and show jumping events. It’s a dedication she’s successfully managed to incorporate into her professional career, as she explains here.
Horses have been my passion since I was able to walk and I owned my first pony at the age of 9 after years of lessons at my local riding school. I have enjoyed many successes over the years in show jumping across the country. Such as qualifying for the national amateur championships at Aintree, to finishing 4th in the Scottish Bronze League to qualify for the Bronze League semi-finals.
Whilst both taking part and attending these events, I envisioned a career where I would be able to bring both my passion and my work together.
At the age of 17, I won an apprenticeship with a national insurance broker and during my 4 years there I developed the fundamentals to launch my career. After earning the Chartered Institute of Insurers Certificate, I joined the team at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers in our Glasgow office.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending several prestigious horses shows across the UK. When you attend any show, it's clear to see how big the supply chain is within the equestrian industry. You’ll see many suppliers offering goods and services such as feed, clothing, saddlery, horseboxes and livery/stud yards.
In the UK, the equestrian industry is worth around £4.7billion each year and is the second-largest rural employer after agriculture. The industry consists of two main parts:
The Use of the Horse - This is either at hobby or professional level. Includes disciplines such as Horse Racing, Showjumping, Dressage, Eventing, Endurance, Pony Club and Vaulting.
The Suppliers of Goods and Services for Equestrian Activities - These businesses provide essentials such as quality feeding, clothing, transport and veterinary services. Horses need a lot of care, especially those competing at the top level. Treatments such as aqua therapy, vibration plates and magnetic therapy are a few of the ways to ensure these horses stay at the top of their game.
At work with Bruce Stevenson colleagues in our Glasgow office. From left to right, Alistair, Maria, Alana and Nick
The level of investment in the equestrian industry has risen in recent years. Horse racing, in particular, sees the highest amounts of money paid for horses that are deemed ‘unproven’. In these occasions, buyers are investing in potential as these horses have yet to race, jump or shown any proper talent under saddle.
In 2018 a young colt sold for £3.675 million which was the highest price paid for a young horse anywhere in the world that year. Similarly, a 2-year-old stallion was bought for £1.8 million at the Hanoverian Licensing and Stallion Sales in Germany. This shows that breeding is a vital contributor to this sport and we must ensure the correct insurance is in place.
With the increasing rise in investment, also comes increased risk and a greater need to protect valuable assets. At Bruce Stevenson, we always seek to deliver tailored equine insurance solutions that meet customers’ needs at the right price. My experience in the industry allows me to bring a brokering service to our clients that’s both knowledgeable and passionate about the industry.
Today, I’m lucky enough to own 2 horses. Connie is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare who I have owned for 4 years and is currently in foal to Glasgow VDL. Bambi is a 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Corland who I have owned and produced for the last year.
Along with caring for them, my goals for the next few years are to continue building and maintaining relationships with potential and existing clients and work towards achieving the Chartered Institute of Insurers Diploma. By providing technical insurance advice and support to businesses, it's my goal to help make Bruce Stevenson the 'broker of choice' for the equestrian industry.
Existing and Development Account Handler