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Braehead Foods: Why They Switched Brokers to Bruce Stevenson Insurance

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Braehead Foods: Why They Switched Brokers to Bruce Stevenson Insurance

Braehead Foods: Why They Switched Brokers to Bruce Stevenson Insurance
November 01
13:16 2018

Broadly speaking, the subject of business insurance isn’t generally considered a particularly exciting or engaging entity but it nevertheless represents an essential, inescapable part of running an operation. Client case studies present an effective format when singing the praises of a particular operator and when it comes to commercial insurance, one Scottish company stands out. Working closely with foodservice, hospitality and tourism business of all styles and sizes, Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers (BSIB) have over the last four decades combined efficient, flexible, competitive policies with sound advice and good old-fashioned reliable service. In 2017, Ayrshire-based Braehead Foods (BHF) were on the lookout for an insurance supplier who would provide them with a trusted, transparent approach to their diverse cover requirements. meets Willie Agnew, Operations Director at Braehead Foods, and discovers what it is about Bruce Stevenson that convinced him and his management team to switch brokers for the very first time…

Despite only joining the company in February last year, Willie (pictured left) is now as much a part of the fabric of the long-established Braehead Foods as are their liveried vans and the instantly recognisable logo of the famous Cook School Scotland.

Equipped with a CV that boasts a long history in retail – including stints at such established brands as Northern Foods, Browns Food Group and Kerry Food Group – one of his first tasks was to examine the suitability of an alternative insurance provider for the company and its entire estate. With extensive facilities including 40,000 sq ft processing and warehouse premises near Kilmarnock, a fleet of over 20 commercial vehicles and a workforce of more than 150 people, BHF has moved into significant new growth territory during the last decade.

‘As a company we have really grasped the fact that our requirements for a first-class commercial insurance policy have increased in recent times,’ he explains. ‘As well as improving our commercial fleet in line with demand, we’ve been developing and perfecting new product ranges, upgrading our processing facilities, fitting new equipment and taking on new staff,’ he continues. ‘We had been dissatisfied with our previous insurance provider for some time and were wondering if there was an operator out there who could offer a better, more rounded and committed level of service.’

Craig Stevenson: ‘Why did we switch insurance brokers to Bruce Stevenson? Because Carol Ward is the best.’

Step forward Carol Ward, an account executive at Bruce Stevenson’s Glasgow office and an experienced specialist in hospitality insurance. ‘Craig [Stevenson, Managing Director of Braehead Foods, pictured right] met Carol at an industry event and they got on so well that you just knew they would work together at some stage,’ adds Willie.

So when the time came to move brokers, Craig and Willie invited Carol and her colleagues down to Braehead’s headquarters near Kilmarnock to see the set-up and meet the team: ‘She could see that we are a growing business and that basically we have a lot to insure here,’ continues Willie. ‘From buildings, stock, machinery and fleet, to public and employer’s liability insurance, we were looking for a comprehensive but flexible package that would cover us for every eventuality.’

Risk assessment: Bruce Stevenson conducted a full audit of the Crosshouse site to determine current levels of risk and outlined new, safer ways of working

Conducting a full audit of the Crosshouse estate, including staff, vehicles, buildings, equipment and fire safety, Carol and her colleagues came up with a bespoke policy that suited all parts of the business.

‘What impressed us most about Bruce Stevenson was their personable approach,’ continues Willie. ‘The team are keen to identify the best solution for a particular business and their tailor-made proposal gave us the confidence to switch providers, safe in the knowledge we were getting the best available advice, insurance products and, above all, service.’

One key aspect of the Braehead Foods operation is, perhaps understandably, their transport fleet. With 19 vans, two trucks and a team of 27 drivers who between them cover around 1.5 million miles a year from the Isle of Skye down to the south of England, the provision of the highest class of comprehensive insurance policy was of paramount importance: ‘Our transport costs amount to almost 10 percent of our entire turnover,’ admits Willie. ‘Our vans and trucks have to be driven by safe, consistent, responsible drivers and so to ensure we continue to prioritise safety and efficiency, we are currently investing in cab-cams.

The Cook School Scotland: Part of the Braehead Foods estate that is now comprehensively insured by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers

‘These aren’t the wee domestic units you can buy off the shelves in auto stores; we require high tech units that can tell us at any time where a driver was and what was going on in the cab. It’s a three-year phasing-in timetable, and the first three new vehicles are due to arrive fully equipped this January.’

Likewise, Bruce Stevenson arranged for all of Braehead’s drivers to undergo competence training to encourage best practice in the event of a potential claim.

‘This has had an extremely positive effect on the number of incidents and accidents, both of which have fallen in the last year or so,’ he admits. ‘These measures provide both us as client and them as broker with confidence that we care about our fleet and our staff.’

And with a quarterly review process making it easy to amend and update the policy as the business evolves, Bruce Stevenson ensure they keep it as current and relevant as their client requires.

Willie sums it up: ‘Essentially, I want our insurers to optimise what we pay for and the difference in this regard over the last 12 months is clear; we are a more streamlined operator and we are far more aware of the risks involved and the ways in which we manage these risks in the different parts of our business than we ever were before.

‘At the end of the day, corporate insurance at this level is neither entertaining nor inexpensive but working with a broker who is dedicated to us as clients is absolutely essential, and Bruce Stevenson are the best in the business, no question.’

For further details, or to request a no-obligation estimate for your business insurance, visit to find out your nearest office and representative.

Supplying chefs, restaurants, hotels, caterers, delis, cook schools and visitor centres , Braehead Foods’ ‘from-the-estate-to-the-plate’ philosophy have made them the market-leading independent foodservice supplier in Scotland.

Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers…

Established over 30 years ago, Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers provides bespoke insurance products and services to both commercial and private clients across the UK. Offering a personal service combined with knowledge, experience and unrivalled market expertise, the company is one of the largest, most respected independent brokers in Scotland. 

Specialist areas include:

Hospitality, leisure and tourism

Corporate and commercial


Private clients

Renewable energy

Social housing

Farms and estates

Heritage property and fine art

Bruce Stevenson Insurance offers property and liability covers including:

Goods in transit

IT: all risks, including cyber

Deterioration of stock

Director and officer liability

Fleet insurance

Loss of license

The People

Andrew Adam, Commercial Director

A Chartered Insurance Practitioner who joined the CIS Excellence Awards Advisory Board in 2017, Andy is responsible for BSIB’s account executive team which operates in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Scottish Borders. With over 35 years’ experience, he’s looked after all types of insurance during his career, although nowadays he focuses mainly on the hospitality sector, the whisky industry and the commercial arena.

Carol Ward, Account Executive (Commercial)

With more than three decades’ experience in the insurance sector, Carol joined Bruce Stevenson in 2015 and shares the company’s values of fairness, honesty and integrity.

In addition to both independent and group-owned hotels and restaurants, Carol also looks after the insurance requirements of several other operators within the hospitality sector, including, now, Braehead Foods and the Cook School Scotland.


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Catering Scotland

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