Tue 11 May 2021

Alan celebrates 50 years in insurance

One of the Tees region’s most experienced insurance professionals has been reflecting on his career after Alan Tickner celebrated the milestone of half a century of Chartered Insurance Institute membership.

During 50 years of professional service, Alan has become synonymous with insurance on Teesside – and he shows no signs of slowing down.

The 69-year-old, who lives in Guisborough, relishes the consultancy work he does for Stockton-based Erimus Insurance Brokers.

He acts as mentor, passing on his experience to younger colleagues to help them get the most out of their careers and encouraging them to achieve the highest levels of professional knowledge.

“I think that over 50 years I’ve seen just about seen and done most things in Insurance – but I also know that you never stop learning,” said Alan, who was born in Rochdale and began his career in Bolton before transferring to Teesside at the age of 20.

“My father worked for Iron Trades Insurance and introduced me to the job.

“I joined Royal Insurance (now RSA) in 1970 after my A-levels. Our clients included ICI, Hintons supermarkets and Cameron’s Brewery and we were encouraged to take the professional qualifications of the Chartered Insurance Institute.”

Appointed a sales advisor in 1973, Alan – pictured above (right) with Andrew Green – laughed as he recalled his very first company car – a Hillman Imp! It was at Royal Insurance where Alan met wife-to-be Ann – and they’re still happily married 47 years later.

Back in the day, Alan and his colleagues didn’t anticipate too many changes in business practice, but changing consumer and competition laws soon began to gain momentum.

He reflected: “For more than 100 years the insurance market was dominated by names like Commercial Union, Eagle Star, General Accident and Sun Alliance, none of which are around now in their original forms, which may suggest they didn’t quite adapt to the changing world.

“The foundation to their businesses owed much to tariffs, which had developed from the mid-19th century and adopted the Lloyd’s of London approach, based on no one syndicate taking 100 per cent of any particular risk. Instead, several syndicates would share a certain percentage of each policy.”

With the tariff system eventually deemed monopolistic and removed, competition between insurers increased and Alan was determined to gain qualifications so that he could give professional advice in this changing environment.

He joined the local Insurance Institute of Middlesbrough, based in the former Cleveland Scientific building on Corporation Road, which offered library facilities for studying along with a venue for regular lectures and presentations on relevant topics.

In 1982 he became president of the institute, an honour he’s repeated twice since. This involvement, alongside his own studies, eventually led Alan to achieve fellowship of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

With such an incredible track record, it may seem that Alan has had no time for anything other than his career, but he’s just as active away from business.

He’s just hung up his rugby union referee’s whistle, is the first ever insurance professional to become president of the Cleveland Scientific Institute and still plays keyboards in a four-piece covers band called Fancy That.

“I’ve had a great career – but it’s not over yet,” he smiled.

Julie Burniston - Tees Business