Sarah Jayne Cromwell reflects on 12 year career with ABL Group

Armagh’s Sarah Jayne Cromwell has been employed in various roles with insurance broker ABL Group for 12 enjoyable years and, despite it not being the exact career she had had in mind all those years ago, it’s now one she holds onto dearly. When describing how it all came to be, she said: “It’s hard to believe that it has been 12 years since I started with ABL Group. Like many people in insurance, this career found me! I was on my way to university with the hope of being a Business Studies teacher, when a friend asked if I wanted to apply for a job at ABL.

“12 years later, and we’re both still here – which says a lot about the sort of company we are. I’ve always felt I was moving forward in my career with ABL. I started as a trainee account handler, then moved to account handler, then team lead and I’m now the Commercial Manager for ABL Group’s Armagh office.”

The company’s investment in its people is something Sarah Jayne speaks highly of and continues to benefit from, she continued: “I’m now a Chartered Insurance Broker, having completed my ACII accreditation during the first lockdown (while being at home with a toddler and a newborn!) with financial support from the team at ABL.

“That sense of forward movement has kept me engaged and hungry for the next challenge, and now, leading the Armagh office, I have a new challenge ahead – to grow the business and team here. I’m confident we’ll do it.”

With over a decade of service under her belt, Sarah Jayne knows what it takes to enjoy a long term career with the ABL Group. Her advice to potential applicants: “The sort of person that does well at ABL (and who maybe stays…for 12 years or more?) is adaptable, willing to learn and always willing to help. Those are personality traits that I think a lot of my colleagues share and they chime with our company values well. That sort of ‘value match,’ when your colleagues and your company’s values fall into rhythm with your own is quite a rare thing to find.

“ABL’s approach to business fits with my personality as it is very people focused. ABL understands that our greatest asset is our people and valuing them and helping them move forward means they stay with us for longer. This deepens our relationship with each other and the trust we have in each other but of course, it very directly helps us commercially.

“We have team members who have been managing the insurance needs of certain clients for many years and who have become an extension of those businesses. That sort of partnership is invaluable in our trade.

“My colleagues and clients are part of the reason why I prefer working in the office but the flexibility of our hybrid working model is great too. As a mum to two young boys, being around to do the school run in the morning is great. Also, we live close to a beautiful nature reserve, so being able to get out for a walk in the wilderness at lunchtime really energises you for the rest of the day!”

Due to continued growth, the company have recently moved to a new, modern premises at Formation Works Armagh and are now fully settled in ready to introduce clients to their new home.

At the minute, the team at ABL are helping business insurance clients mitigate the risks of under-insurance which have been caused by the steep rise in building materials cost. Many people aren’t aware that if something happened to their premises the cost of re-building is significantly higher than it once was, so their insurance cover needs to be updated to take this into account.

This element of her role is something Sarah Jayne takes great pride in, she comments: “I love getting into the detail of this with businesses and helping them steer a course through what might be a challenging time for some. As we have our own Risk Management service, we’re well placed to help local businesses keep control of their costs by delivering an integrated insurance and risk management package, something very few brokers locally can do.

“ABL has grown and changed a lot in the past few years. As a company that acquires other brokers, it has been fantastic to welcome new people, new experiences, and new clients into ABL Group. The diversity of backgrounds, experience and knowledge makes all of us better at our jobs.

“Most recently, our parent company GRP, has been acquired by US firm, Brown & Brown – one of the world’s largest insurance brokers. Thankfully, Brown & Brown’s brand values of teamwork and client focus, match perfectly with ABL’s approach to business, so it has been a beautifully smooth transition. Change has become part of the fabric of who we are as a company, and that’s exciting to be part of!”

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