T L Dallas Expands

UNA Member, T L Dallas has announced the opening of its new North Yorkshire Division.

Headed by experienced duo Simon Drew and Mark Wilding, Dallas Wilding Drew has opened in Settle, North Yorkshire.

The pair have a combined total of more than 50 years of corporate insurance, personal insurance, and risk management experience between them.

As part of the wider TL Dallas group, Dallas Wilding Drew has the capability to offer a wide range of insurance services for both businesses and individuals. 

The new operation will service customers in the local area and further afield, utilising TL Dallas’s size and scale across its extensive UK office network.

Tim Mortimer, Commercial Managing Director at Bradford-headquartered TL Dallas, said:

“We are thrilled to welcome Mark and Simon to the TL Dallas group. They are both first rate operators with extensive knowledge, experience and networks, and will provide valuable services to the local community.  The opening of our new North Yorkshire office is in line with our strategy of attracting high quality individuals and expanding our footprint to help us achieve our growth aspirations.  This move means we can continue to offer our clients the best service possible through our independent operating model.”

Simon Drew said:

“Our focus as trusted advisers is to deliver the best value for money that we can for our clients across general commercial and corporate insurance.  We have exciting plans for growth and Mark and I are looking forward to delivering on this as part of the TL Dallas family.”

Mark Wilding added:

“Both Simon and I have been given an incredible opportunity to build a business with TL Dallas under the Dallas Wilding Drew brand. We had been exploring opportunities to launch a venture together and following conversations with the TL Dallas board, the Dallas Wilding Drew proposition evolved. We are delighted to be part of such a successful group whose values are aligned with our own, and we’re looking forward to celebrating many successes together over the coming years.”  

Mark and Simon previously worked together at Marsh Commercial. 


Building on firm family foundations with Polly Staveley

As we jump further into Spring 2021, we’re starting our focus on our UNA Alliance people – the energy behind everything we do. UNA is a concentration of independent brokers, coming together to build unified, strong foundations for our customers to rely on.

Many of our members are family businesses and, with a focus on this and putting a spotlight on women in insurance, too, who better to start our series of Bringing All Together Better People interviews than Polly Staveley – MD of TL Dallas and an active member of the UNA Alliance board as well. 

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Checking in for wellbeing the importance of small talk

They say that a smile speaks a thousand words and at UNA we tend to agree. Bringing people together is what it’s all about and in these times when we can’t come together in person so easily, video calls have certainly filled the breach. But while video calls allow us to see each other – and that smile – the small talk that would generally take place before and after meetings is distinctly lacking.

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Meeting virtually - focusing in on videoconferencing

You’re on mute! This may be one of the most common sentences heard during 2020 and it’s still prevalent today. As we make our way down the road out of lockdown, everyone is looking forward to a resumption of more standard working practices, including face to face meetings and the ability to be a bit more sociable again. For many businesses and their employees, though, working from home will remain the norm for some time to come. Our executive chair, Tim Ryan, explores options...

Videoconferencing seems to have come a long way in the last 12 months. Whether that’s due to new features that have been developed to help us all to chart the new challenges of business, or whether that’s because we’ve all become more used to using them. There are many to choose from, though, and finding the right one for your business needs, and your personal preferences, is easier said than done.

Having reviewed platforms for the very first virtual UNA Alliance conference, that took place in November 2020, as well as for team meetings, one-to-ones with staff, customers and suppliers, and for recruiting new people too, I’ve noted down some key features for four of the best:


GoToMeeting – mobile friendly at a reasonable price

GoToMeeting offers audio and video conferencing, plus screen sharing, and as a part of the LogMeIn portfolio, it also offers a webinar option. This relatively cost friendly app is easy to use on your laptop or desktop, and it’s also very mobile friendly, which is handy if you need to meet with someone while you’re on the move or, indeed, if you’d like to move around while you meet. Most features are available in the standard package, which provides for up to 150 people to meet at the same time.

 Microsoft Teams – value for money as part of Microsoft 365

For a joined up approach that enables you to connect your teams with calendars, file sharing and audio and video conferencing, as well as webinars, Teams is ideal for businesses already using Microsoft 365. And, for guests invited from outside the organisation, no app is needed to take part in meetings. 

Microsoft Teams also offers all the features you’d expect from a leading videoconferencing platform, including screen sharing and call recording, chat and background blurring, and it’s easy to use via a mobile app for meetings on the go, too.

Google Meet – cost effective and great with Google Workspace integration

Google Meet, previously called Google Hangouts Meet, is part of the Google Workspace office productivity platform, so it’s connected to other Google apps, such as Google Calendar, and has been developed specifically for business needs.

For guests invited to your meetings there is a web app, meaning no software needs to be downloaded to join. It also provides a dedicated dial-in number, which means that people on the go can join and ensures a good quality connection.

Zoom Meetings – affordable and intuitive to use

Zoom Meetings is quick and easy to set up and offers video conferencing and messaging with a wide range of scalable features. As well as high definition video and audio and screen sharing, Zoom Meetings can be recorded and saved locally or to the cloud, along with transcripts that include searchable text.

Perhaps best of all, the free tier of Zoom Meetings includes many features, with the ability to host a meeting for up to 100 participants and for up to 40 minutes. For longer meetings, a licence for business use is needed.


Bringing your team together

Of course, the platform you choose and the features you need will be individual to your business, and there are many other videoconferencing solutions to choose from as well. While chairing a meeting via video is certainly not my preference, it is far preferable to not seeing your teams at all. Staying in touch is not only vital for business, it’s important for the mental wellbeing of your people, too. It’s suggested that social connectedness can help people to build a stronger immune system, improved memory and cognitive skills and lower stress levels, all helping to keep your workforce productive, too. See you online soon!