Catching up with Rianna Eley of Eley Insurance

It’s not every day that we reflect on 60 years of business with a client. However, this year is special for Rianna Eley and her brother Joshua Eley, who continue to build on their Dad and Grandad’s success.

We catch up with Rianna, who shares what it means to be one of the few independent brokers in the local area, and why she values us as an IT partner.

Rianna, could you tell me a little about yourself and your connection to Eley Insurance?

“I’d love to. Eley Insurance is my family’s business and is now in its third generation of ownership, with my brother Joshua and I managing the company. This year is a really special one for us as we celebrate 60 years!

“My Grandad initially set the business up in 1963 and passed the reins to my Dad some years ago, where along with my Mum, he continued to grow the business into the thriving independent insurance broker that we are today.

“Growing up, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. After studying at college for a year, a placement at Eley Insurance opened up, and Dad asked if I’d like to join, which I did in 2011.

“Looking back, there was a lot to learn. It was important that I gained a well-rounded understanding of all the insurance products that we offer. I moved from product to product as I completed my training, beginning with personal lines and then into commercial, fleet, construction, and groundworks insurance.

“Fast forward a few years, and today, Eley Insurance is one of the area’s few remaining independent insurance brokers. We have thousands of policyholders across Essex and Suffolk who rely on us for their business and personal insurance needs.

“We value our independence, and so do our clients. There’s not a call-centre in sight – just a highly experienced team of insurance specialists.”

Could you tell us what’s special about Eley Insurance?

“We genuinely care about the suitability of every insurance product we arrange for our clients. The last thing we ever wish to happen is for a client to experience not being covered.

“Our clients trust us and stay with us for a long time. I am proud to say that our first-ever client is still a policyholder with Eley Insurance.

“Something that my Dad taught me, and his Dad taught him, is to genuinely care about people and take an interest in the things that matter to them.

“That’s why we take a personal approach. We get to know our clients and their businesses to identify the best cover.”

What do you like most about your role?

“I love watching our clients grow their businesses and helping them with their insurance needs – it’s one less thing for them to worry about.

“Although most of our work is electronic, I also like that clients will pop in to see us most days, so there’s still that face-to-face interaction.

“One of my favorite roles of my job is training other team members. I enjoy supporting them in learning about our products and mentoring them in our approach.”

How important is IT to your business?

“It’s not just important; it’s crucial. Technology completely changed the insurance industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it has never stood still since.

“Insurers trade electronically, and on top of this, our data protection, cyber security and firewall protection must be fully compliant. Therefore, having a strong IT infrastructure is essential to the operation of our business.”

How did Eley Insurance first discover Agile Technical Solutions?

“We were first introduced to Agile about seven years ago now. Nick Baines (Agile’s MD) and the team were referred to us by a close business contact at Claydon Financial Services.

“We were looking for an IT company that could support us with every aspect of our IT, from data and systems security to strategy and ongoing IT Support.

“Knowing that Agile also take a highly personal approach, we knew that they would be a good fit for us.”

How has Agile supported Eley Insurance?

“We’re not overly technical people, so having Agile on board is great – they explain things in plain English, which is a huge advantage.

“From the outset, Nick provided us with informed advice and suggestions for how we could strengthen our IT.

“In the last couple of years, Agile has helped us transition to hybrid working, and supported us with our office renovation. Everything was meticulously planned. They worked closely with us to understand how we would use our new space so that all our sockets, internet points, cabling and IT equipment were in the right place. They even checked that the internet strength would be robust enough and supported us with our phone system.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble, and if we do have an IT issue, Agile quickly resolves it.”

What has been the most rewarding experience of working with Agile?

“It has got to be how much I have learnt. I have a far greater knowledge of IT than I did seven years ago. Since Agile explains everything so clearly, I can now approach technical conversations with a deeper understanding. To me, that’s personally rewarding.”

Thanks, Rianna. You have a very busy role – what do you do to relax?

“I think it’s really important to have a good work/life balance, so I love horse-riding and walking my cocker spaniel, Mowgli. Just like the character from The Jungle Book, there’s never a dull moment with him. He’s full of life; every walk is a ‘new walk’.

“Whenever I can, I also enjoy travelling. I’ve been to America, Europe and lots of other places, but there’s so much of the world I have yet to see, which is exciting. You must balance life with doing the things that you love!”