The beginning of the journey of WRS dates back to 1966 when it was founded by William Sawtell (known as Bill) and commenced business in May 1966, based in Romford, Essex, where no doubt a young Bobby Moore was preparing himself for the World Cup just down the road in West Ham!
It was also a significant year for a couple of other serious reasons:
– The Abefran disaster in Wales – caused 144 deaths (including 116 children) who were killed by a collapsing coal spoil pit
– Thieves stole millions of pounds worth of paintings from Dulwich Art Gallery in London
The events that were happening at that time had an impact on our lives and therefore the insurance world and the way that insurance and risk are viewed.
In 1987 the business was purchased by Tony Hughes following the death of “Bill Sawtell” and relocated to Colchester in 1991. Later on, in 1998, Chris Chapman joins the business and purchases it in 2008. We are now specialists in providing charities, faith, not for profit and commercial businesses with ethical independent advice and guidance regarding insurance products.
Over the past 50 years or so, as the timeline below shows, we have seen many changes in the world we live in and thus the risks to both people and property have also evolved.
You can see from the timeline that natural disasters, particularly due to weather and the impact of climate change seem to have become more and more prevalent, with severe flooding affecting both homes and businesses and causing huge damage and distress. We work with clients advising and supporting on how to best protect their businesses and then support to help expedite any claims they may need to make.
When WRS first started business there were only around 10m vehicles on the road, now there are over 36m. The vast increase in numbers has had a significant impact on the world of fleet management, from the ability to deliver goods on time through to managing the number of accidents. We now work with clients who are using telematics in their vehicles, enabling them to manage a motor fleet with real time updates every 30 seconds from all vehicles using the latest GPS technology. This has enabled them to reduce the number of incidents as well as improve their systems and processes and manage their premiums more effectively. Something not needed, let alone thought about, 50 years ago.
The use of technology has grown exponentially as has our reliance on them. In 1980 Bill Gates said “640kb ought to be enough for anyone” and in the same decade a Kinsey report into Mobile technology for America’s AT&T said “there should be no meaningful or lasting impact on society”
The range of what WRS have to deal with has changed and grown as a result of the technology changes and today we are currently working in areas such as cyber and data loss and how crime is committed using computers affecting both individuals and business.
The nature of human risk has also changed significantly, particularly since the end of the cold war in the 1980’s. There has been an increase in internal conflict resulting in increased risk to humanitarian and civilian workers. Figures peaked in 2012 with 167 incidents against aid workers, including murder and kidnapping. Combine this with the new risk of Ebola you can see how the nature of insurance has to evolve to support organisations who have operations or workers overseas.
We are all living in a world of risk and uncertainty and how we manage and deal with these is important. At WRS we believe that working in partnership with our clients we can help identify and manage risks more effectively enabling us to provide the best solutions to meet their needs.