5 minutes with...

Terry Shelbourne, Owner and Principal Advisor, Choice Benefits

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 23rd, Nov

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

Terry Shelbourne, Owner and Principal Advisor, Choice Benefits.

Choice Benefits is an independent insurance broker, specialising in health and wellbeing cover, because that’s where our key experiences rests. After 35 years of dealing with health like I have, you get a real sense of empathy towards people - strangers or otherwise - and couple that with my years at BUPA and heading up SME business at another brokerage, I could tell there was opportunity for a tailor-made brokerage within health and protection insurance.

The great thing about working for a company that you built yourself is that you can set the tone, and make the rules around how you work. And that’s what I love, because I like to be able to bend over backwards for our clients and give them the deal that works for them. Flexibility is really important to us. Not a lot of people know this, but if a key leader within a small business falls seriously ill, statistically, the business will fail within 6 months. Our flexibility means that we can help clients move fast to make short-and-medium term decisions to keep that business trading. And it’s that flexibility that I love offering.

What changes would you like to be leading in your market?

I touched on it a little earlier but our ability to mould our services to suit clients both old and new is something I would love to be reflected in the industry. It’s important that when an individual or business comes to us, they get the best deal they can get, with the cover that they need, which is sometimes not what they think it is. There’s some businesses in the market who are a little more rigid in how they work with SMEs, but our policy couldn’t be further away from ‘one size fits all’, and we’d love this attitude to become the norm in our industry, but until then, Choice Benefits see it as our core USP.

What does your typical working day look like?

The great thing about this business is that while the day may look typical on the surface, in reality it’s really very varied. My three key priorities are client troubleshooting, winning new business and keeping up-to-date with trends and new learning within healthcare and protection in general. Without these things, we can’t be at our peak.

I love speaking to my current clients and new because I’m a people person, and without actually talking to these folk you’re working on behalf of, you can’t get a gist for them and what they value. It seems really simple but talking and listening and taking in what your customers are saying is the best thing you can do as a service provider.

What do you do on your day off?

Although I’ve always got to keep my head somewhat in the game, I’m a big advocate for actually taking time away and having a few hours of peace and quiet. I love outdoor sports, so if I can spend a morning walking or cycling with my kids then that’s quite alright with me! Often though that’s just not possible, so staying a little closer to home and taking in some live music is the next thing I try and do. I’m a Liverpool-born lad and it’s great to see more live tours coming to the city. If anyone has any recommendations, drop me a line!

What advice would you give your teenage self?

My favourite piece of advice actually came to me when I was a teenager, from the father of a good friend. I’ve used it ever since “If the circumstances don’t suit you. Change them” This applies to everything I do, and I have even used it in business for the benefit of all my clients. It sounds so simple yet people often do nothing when something is less than ideal for them or their clients.

Who is your role model in business?

There is a whole bunch of people that I look up to in business, all for different reasons. I respect anyone with the get-up-and-go to make something for themselves, for a starter. The more small businesses we can see growing to reflect decent people making decent decisions the better.

In terms of specifics, I really like Lawrence Kenwright. Lawrence is a Liverpool hotel/property operator and director that I’m always interested to hear about. He’s a local guy who has become really successful but still made time to build his business in what I believe to be the right way.  He’s just a decent person who hasn’t forgotten his respect for others, be them more or less fortunate.

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