Every month Katy Gordon speaks to a Courier Country business person to learn what makes them tick. This month, she met George Stubbs, Founder and Managing Director at GS Group, at Murrayshall Hotel in Scone.
For some businesses, the contribution made to the community is based on just one thing: How much money their business is putting into the local economy. However, in the case of George Stubbs, he ensures that his company continues to care about the people in the communities around them.
And as George explained as we ordered lunch in the Stutts Bar (chicken Caesar salad for him and a tomato and feta quiche for me) that starts right at the recruitment stage.
“I look for people who can build relationships with people,” he explained. “You can teach the technical side of the job, but if a person doesn’t have the ability to communicate and maintain relationships with people, then I find they don’t do well in this industry because they aren’t able to think outside the box.
“Part of what makes our company unique is that we do follow people and businesses from the cradle to the grave – and it has to be about more than just ticking boxes. We are passionate about our customers and want them to see our business as adding value to their business.
“We can talk empathetically about what they are going through and the challenges they are facing and we find a way of doing things that push boundaries for our clients’ benefit.
“To do this we need to ensure that everything we do is what is best for the customer and we need the right people to do that because our biggest asset is the people.”
George has been working on the education side of the industry, to help give people a deeper understanding and also show them that it is a good career to move into.
“This really isn’t people’s choice – more often than not when you speak to people you find out that they fell into insurance. But it’s actually very different to what people imagine.”
He continued: “I believe there’s a lot we can learn from young people. How we communicate has changed and although I’m a traditionalist in many ways, I see that they are going to be paying our pensions years from now so we need their ideas and input and I’m always open to hearing what they have to say.”
One of the latest innovations is the creation of an app for claims that can be used when an accident happens – George told me that it the insurance companies he works with estimate that this could save them £700 per claim, a total that could then result in better value for the customer.
But it’s not just the clients of GS Group who George and his employees work tirelessly to help.
Over sticky toffee pudding and apple pie, he explained that as part of the company’s silver anniversary celebrations they have been working to raise money for two worthwhile causes – The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.
“Both of those charities are important to me. The hospital because my niece was admitted there with a terminal disease, and the SCAA because the work they do is so important to help save lives.
“We had a dinner at Crieff Hydro, with all costs covered by ourselves and some insurance companies and we raised over £20,000 between ticket sales and the auction we had on the night,” George said, adding that by the end of the year the total amount raised could nudge above £30,000.
And next year George will be doing a 500km cycle in Spain to raise money in aid of a friend.
At 51-years-old and with 33 years in the business, George knows that the time is approaching when he will want to be less hands-on at the GS Group and he’s looking to see who will be in the position to take his place.
“I want to position myself so I’m working on the business, not in the business and I want to see people come through and develop and show how they see the business progressing.”
And he says that it’s a mixture of that educational work bringing in the people to the business, the experience of the people already working for him and his strong drive to see the GS Group go from strength to strength that will ensure its future.