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East Herts Leading Independent Insurance Broker Claims East Of England ‘Commitment To People Development’ Prize At The British Chambers Awards 2012

A 31 year-old insurance broker has secured a prestigious achievement after it was announced as the British Chambers of Commerce 2012’s Winner of the “Commitment to People Development” Award for the East of England.

Ashbourne Insurance, which employs 25 people across its two high street locations in Hoddesdon and Cheshunt, made it a double celebration this year with its Finance Director Sarah Smits beating off stiff competition from across Hertfordshire to be named as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier this year.

The family-run independent high street broker offers a one-stop service, from personal and complex commercial insurances to 24-hour claims advisory support.

It has developed the ‘Ashbourne Way’, which focuses on continuous staff training, retention of employees and the development of high performance managers.

Last year, Ashbourne spent approximately £20,000 on training and over 1,000 hours on staff development, including classroom and on-the-job training with mentors.

‘People power’ has played a major role in Ashbourne Insurance defying the online competition to grow turnover significantly.

Peter Smits, Ashbourne’s Managing Director said: “I am so very proud of our team and delighted with the recognition that we have achieved at the British Chambers of Commerce Awards thus far. We work in a much regulated industry but one that does not have any mandatory training qualifications. At Ashbourne we have invested heavily into bespoke training programmes for our dedicated team of 25 which in turn has had a direct positive effect on our high standards of customer service, again evidenced in the recognition we received for “Commitment to People Development” at the Regional awards.”

President of the British Chambers of Commerce Martyn Pellew said: “There has never been a more important time for businesses to showcase the amazing work they are doing on a day-to-day basis.

“The Chamber Awards is a perfect platform for them to do just that and receive the recognition and profile they deserve for helping move the economy forward and create employment, often in local areas.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Awards 2012 is committed to finding the best businesses in Britain through a series of regional heats followed by a National Final, due to be held at London’s Guildhall on November 29th.

Now in its 9th year, the competition is one of the showcase events for the ‘Business is Good for Britain’ campaign that highlights the role of business as a positive force for the UK recovery and the success of local communities and individuals.

Ashbourne, along with the seven other East of England winners, will now represent the East of England in their respective categories in the Grand Final, with the chance to win £25,000 and the title of “Outstanding Business Achievement”, courtesy of the RBS Group.

Martyn concluded: “A record number of firms have taken part this year, all determined to prove that ‘Business is Good for Britain!’”

Ashbourne Insurance has also been nominated for five Red Ribbon Family Awards – a national award scheme designed to champion family run firms. Ashbourne has been shortlisted in five categories; Small Family Business of the Year, Innovation, Customer First and a nomination each for Managing Director Peter Smits and Finance Director Sarah Smits in the Best Family Business Ambassador category. Winners will be announced on Nov 23rd in London.

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