The Broker Network for Start-up and small established Insurance Brokers

…was incorporated in September 2004 and then launched in February 2005.

Founded originally by two insurance professionals and one technologist, combining between them over 125 years of market experience…

even back then… and the tally within the current Management Team is no less now; even though two of our original entrepreneurs have retired.

The milestones for the business have been as follows: -

  • to establish itself with 10+ ARs in 2005

  • to increase to 25+ by 2007

  • to reach 100+ members

  • to evolve other network models and services over time

  • and to plan for and achieve longevity through succession

TEn has grown the business organically and steadily; always with an underlying philosophy that for small businesses to prosper and survive, it takes a dedicated larger business to lend a helping hand from time to time.

Whilst the analogy may not be entirely appropriate, the comparison of TEn to a French wine-growers co-operative, would not be completely out of place.

“Je suis Fleurie!”

As the tone of this website may well indicate, TEn is largely non-corporate, straight forward and has quite a lot to do with old fashioned values of professionalism, character and integrity.


According to one of our remaining founding directors, James Sharp:

We invented and launched the TEn model upon an unsuspecting UK insurance industry, because we realised that there was a yawning gap in market for a network focused mainly on start-up brokers.

It seemed to us that with the right solution and support, the number of new brokers could only increase, whereas the number of existing brokers would continue to decline.

We were correct! At least in this respect we got something right in our business plan, even if our first pay-packet didn’t happen for 12 months after we had originally expected.

Anyway, since then, almost every other network has either developed a different form of start-up proposition, or copied us exactly, in almost every detail. Of course, we are very flattered.

If we were to admit to a Mission Statement, it would be that we exist to enable the next generation of Insurance entrepreneurs to build broking businesses, as people did 40 years ago.

Our model may have been tweaked a little over the years to reflect the fact that the world has changed, but, essentially, we still aim to return many of the good old things to the way they were once before.

Our point has always been; the world may have changed, but what motivates people to succeed has not… given half a chance.

And so it has proved.


Today we have grown our membership to 105 brokers.

Click here for the full video transcript About the Broker Network for Start- Up and Established Insurance Brokers.

the directors


James Sharp

After fiddling around with this and that during his 20s, James joined software house MCS/Sectornet in 1986 as a humble salesman, then progressed to become General Manager and Business Development Director until his departure in 2003.

Whilst at MCS, he was the originator of the market’s first ASP service in 1994 and the subsequent instigator of numerous early ‘network centric’ services.


Dawn Derbyshire Cert CII

Dawn joined Wilson’s in Cheshire in 1991 as a trainee insurance broker, where she progressed quickly to become an area manager for several offices.

From there she moved to Holman’s, where she gained valuable experience of the London Market and of Account Managing hundreds of brokers. Dawn joined TEn in 2008, originally as the Regional Manager of our Manchester office.


John Rusby ACII

In 1973 John joined the Provincial as a trainee underwriter. By 1989 he had progressed to branch manager in North London, then the City and Reading.

After that, John worked in a development role for Aascent Premium Finance and for there, joined TEn in 2009, to manage TEn Premium Finance.


Robert Withers

Rob Withers began his accountancy career at Sceptre in 1990, working as an Accounts Clerk/Manager. He remained there for fifteen years until the idea for TEn was born.

Rob decided to take a chance and work for TEn, becoming the first employee. Originally joining as the Accounts/Office manager, next progressing to Finance Manager and finally Finance Director.


Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes initially worked for Broker, Brown Shipley, circa 1990, then joined broker software house, MCS/Sectornet, in 1993 as an application Trainer.

There he was promoted to the role of Training Manager, which he remained until he moved to TEn - in a similar capacity - during 2012.

Paul has subsequently been appoint IT Director.


Gordon Coles (non-executive chairman)

Gordon has over 50 years’ experience of the London Market and, many of them at Senior Broker or Director level with a variety of Lloyds brokers, including Houlders, Heath’s and AON.

Gordon is a Freeman of The City.


Barbara Bradshaw (non-executive director)

In a former life, Barbara had a long standing involvement with the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB) and, ultimately, held the role of Chief Executive; prior to the merger with BIBA.

Barbara is a friend and champion of the smaller independent broker and has dedicated herself for almost 30 years to the cause.


Kedric Rhodes ACII (non-executive director)

Kedric began his career as an insurance broker in West London during the 1960s

In 1971, he established his own business, Sceptre Insurance Services Ltd.

Sceptre grew organically to employ 15+ staff - in two locations - over the next three decades, eventually being acquired by NFU (Country Mutual) in 2000.

Kedric was a founding director and the first MD of TEn, retiring to Spain at the end of 2009. In June 2018, he was invited to return as a non-exec.

A director of the IIB for many years until its merger with BIBA, Kedric remains a non-exec director of Broker Direct.