Essex is convenient for London, train services makes it easy to meet clients

James Hallam Ltd – Insurance Brokers, one of the country’s leading independent brokers, has chosen the city of Chelmsford in Essex as the base for expanding its services.

“The location ticked all the boxes,” says Graham Whyatt, Office Manager. “And the support we received from INVEST Essex gave us the confidence to make the final decision. In the end, there was no competition.”

National company, local service

James Hallam is part of the 17 Group, which also includes Touchstone Underwriting and 4Sight Risk Management. James Hallam Insurance Brokers offer their services to small and medium businesses (SMEs) through to larger corporate companies and high net worth individuals. As well as general property and liability insurance James Hallam has specific expertise and a strong client base in the leisure industry, the media industry, travel agents & tour operators and transport and logistic companies.

“We are a highly professional broker and compete against other national groups.” “However, we want our clients to see us as a local company. The difference is that we can offer local contacts, people with expertise in niche areas as well as general insurance, and continuity.”

Graham Wyatt

Vibrant professional community

Location in Essex is key to the company’s expansion plans as Graham Whyatt explains. “Chelmsford has a strong professional base with a positive, vibrant edge and there is a growing business community of accountants, solicitors and financial services companies.”

“Essex is also convenient for London,” he continued. “The train service makes it easy to meet clients based in the City or visit our head office. Overseas visitors find Essex just as easy to reach as London because we have international airports at Stansted and Southend so close by.”

Local knowledge builds confidence

While Essex offered clear potential advantages, relocation represented a major decision for the company. “What tipped it for us was the welcome and the support we received from INVEST Essex,” says Graham Whyatt. “We were able to draw on their local knowledge and contacts. They helped us identify companies that would be a good fit with our business. That saved us time and effort in research and gave us the confidence that we would be contacting the right people.”

"The INVEST Essex team also came forward with suggestions that helped us grow our business,” he recalls. “Sponsoring a category in the Essex Business Awards was a great idea. It helped us build our profile and gave us excellent opportunities for networking with local companies." “It’s clear that Essex is a great place to grow and develop our business. It was a big decision to move, but our experience so far has convinced us that it was the right choice,” says Graham Whyatt. “The environment in Chelmsford played a big part in bringing our new team together. We’re 30 strong now and we are in for the long haul.”