Working every day to support the NFU Mutual Agency Network, our Wholesale Broking and Outplacement teams source wholesale products to provide a wide range of cover that we don’t ordinarily provide. Functionally, this means we have our own in-house brokers – which for an insurer, is very unusual indeed! As intermediaries for our agencies, the team is known as National Intermediary Services, or NIS within the business. So how does NIS operate, and what benefits does it offer to our customers and colleagues? We sat down with a few of the NIS team to find out.

How does broking work in an insurance company like NFU Mutual?
“We may be an insurance company, rather than a broker,” says James Pickering, the department head. “But the truth is, most of what we do is identical to what you would be doing in a brokerage. Getting risk information, presenting it to the market, getting terms back, deciding on the most favourable options and conveying them in the context of best advice.” Team Operations Manager Sharon Sanders nods in agreement. “If you’re familiar with the broking world,” she adds. “Our day-to-day operations will be pretty normal. We might have an element that is slightly more complex but it's not going to take someone with broking experience long to get to grips with what we do.”

“I used to work in a brokerage and people definitely weren’t aware of this team,” says Placement Consultant Steph. “When I said I was going to NFU Mutual, they just thought I was going into insurance. But we’re a brokerage in our own right.”

“Yes, we replicate a typical brokerage in our structure,” adds Kelly, a supply chain manager. “We’ve got all the same teams and departments that you would expect from a broker. It’s the best of both worlds for customers because you can access all NFU Mutual’s services, as well as getting access to products from other insurers through us.” Mohammed, who works closely with Kelly as a supply chain consultant, agrees. “We’ve become a one-stop shop,” he adds. “Customers don’t need to shop around for everything they need – which is great for them and also benefits the business.”

“It’s not like other companies where the shareholders' interests may be front of mind,” Kelly continues. “As a mutual we’re focused purely on our customers, and that's unlike anywhere else I've worked. Our customers say they feel like they get a lot of time from us, and we make sure we fully explain how the product offers them value, so they understand why it’s worth it.”

It sounds like this model offers a lot of benefits to your members! But from your perspective, how is working at NFU Mutual different from working at a brokerage?
“There’s not that pressure to make a profit for shareholders you might see elsewhere,” says Supply Chain Governance Manager, Annie. “So, we don’t have a lot of the distractors that other brokers have from delivering quality advice. But we do need to be sure that we maintain our focus on finding the best advice for the customer.”

“Yes, although we don’t have shareholders, we definitely still need to be commercially aware,” agrees Sharon. “But coming from a corporate background, I could feel the culture was noticeably different when I joined. I think it’s because ultimately, we’re acting with our members best interests at heart which includes both managing our cost base and the outcomes we achieve, and our customers are our members. That made me feel more valued – that my work was more important to the business.”

Everyone seems to agree that this customer focus is the biggest difference in culture between NFU Mutual and other brokers. “We exist solely for the purpose of providing solutions for our customers,” says James. “As opposed to making profits for shareholders. That’s written on the sign above the door.” Kelly is quick to voice her agreement. “The lack of old-fashioned sales culture is a big draw,” she says. “We do sell, but it is based on communicating our advice based upon our customers' needs and explaining things in the right way. Winning new members isn't prioritised over managing our existing members, and there’s nobody telling you to 'sell 20 of these things in a month' or whatever. You just do what’s right for the customer.”

“I’d also say that everyone here is so approachable and open,” adds Mohammed. “Including the senior management team. It’s a huge contrast compared to the big profit-driven multinational I was working at before.”

For those of you who were brokers before you joined NFU Mutual, what convinced you to make the move?
“It was the NFU Mutual reputation - they’re known for being an amazing employer,” explains Kate a Regulation, Risk and Control Consultant in the team, who's role involves liaising with agencies and updating logs regarding risk control. “And I wanted the opportunity to specialise. Where I worked before, I did a bit of compliance, a bit of risk, and some team management as well. But here, I have a clear role, with well-defined aims and remits. I also do a lot of investigation,” she adds. “Which is probably my favourite part of the job - especially looking into something really meaty. But there’s a lot of flexibility to shape your role, define how you work and plan your time. There’s also such a wide variety of products we deal with, so we learn a lot of different skills. It’s really good for development.”

Kelly also sees this wider scope as a big advantage. “There’s no way you’d get bored!” she says. “You can move into specialisms later if you find something you’re particularly interested in, or you can remain more of a generalist. It’s completely up to you.”

“There are plenty of growth opportunities and more chances for progression,” agrees Steph. “Because you’ll be coming in during a period of progressive change, where the business is set to almost double in size in the next five years, you can grow with us and contribute to it.”

“But also,” adds Kate. “Since we’re part of NFU Mutual, there are lots of opportunities to develop and branch out into the wider business. They’re always encouraging you to take control of your learning and development. In my opinion, brokers don’t have those same opportunities.”

Interested in joining the team?
It’s clear from talking to the NIS team that not one of them regrets joining NFU Mutual. Why not do the same? Discover greater satisfaction, greater opportunities, and greater meaning – find your place at one of the top-rated companies to work for in the UK. Search our current vacancies.