Hull insurance firm which rose as others fell celebrates 50th birthday

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 24 Apr 2019

An East Yorkshire insurance broker which has expanded across the region since its launch in 1969 is celebrating 50 years of business.

Hedon Insurance, which has branches in Hull, Hedon, Cottingham and Hornsea, has fought off strong competition from rivals over the decades to become a leader in its field.

As the business has grown, other insurance firms were forced to close their doors as the sector dwindled.

But 50 years after its foundation, Hedon Insurance now employs 24 people in its four offices, and is planning for a bright future.

Anne Walters, who joined the business in 1993 and took it over in 2006, said the internet had made a big impact on the insurance industry.

She said: “People go online and think they can get their cover at a lower price but they often come back to us when they find out they can’t claim for something that’s gone wrong.

Hedon Insurance in Holderness Road, Hull (Hull Live)

“We have access to the same facilities as the direct companies – dynamic pricing, which can change on a daily basis, but you don’t see the real value of the policy until something goes wrong and you have to make a claim.

“It’s almost always the case that when people are claiming on a policy they are in a vulnerable position because something difficult has happened to them, their family or their property.

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“That’s when they find out whether the policy is what they wanted and what they thought they had signed up for. Our challenge is getting people to think about that when they take out the cover in the first place.”

Hedon Insurance was launched by Jeffrey Cladingbowl – then a local agent for the Prudential – in 1969.

Known to all his staff as Mr Cladingbowl, he opened and subsequently sold a second office in Barton, and sold the business when he retired in 1987.

The new owners ran the company for two years until it was bought by Mike Medforth, who had been looking to buy a local business after a long career with Smith & Nephew and Reckitts.

Under Mr Medforth’s ownership, Hedon Insurance expanded to Hornsea and as he moved closer to retirement, Anne Walters advanced to the role of managing director.

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Mr Medforth said: “At the time I bought the business there were about 60 different independent insurance businesses as well as large firms and individual operators, but quite a few were closing by the time I left.

“There was also more competition from national firms selling direct by phone and advertising on TV, but the location of our offices encouraged people to call in deal face to face.

“We survived by being friendly with people and looking after them. The bigger firms didn’t look after their clients very well. Our business grew every year and it was down to customer service.”

Anne opened a Hull office in Holderness Road in 2007 and in 2010 opened a Cottingham office which relocated to larger premises in 2017.

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