Graeme and Julia Cant have quite a lot of similarities – they both work for PIB Insurance Brokers, they both work in Aberdeen, and they both are married, to each other.
Some couples could think of nothing worse than working with their spouse, but Graeme and Julia make it work because they have known nothing else.
Julia has been living in the area for 24 years, despite her strong London accent, while Graeme is originally from near Forres.
Julia said: “I consider it home as I have been here for most of my working life.”
They met while working at a previous job with Aon, who offer risk management, investment banking and insurance solutions amongst other things. The couple have both been in the insurance for so long that they have 70 years of experience between them.
They are now both at PIB Insurance Brokers and are using their wealth of experience to bring a more personal service to north-east clients. Graeme is the head of office and is responsible for looking after client service and new business, while Julia is much more focused on the personal side of the service.
Julia, who is 50-years-old, said: “My previous experience has been in client service and people, but here this is an element of all hands to the pump.”
Founded in 2014, PIB have offices all over the UK. Julia came up to start the Aberdeen office and was followed later by 55-year-old Graeme as the company grew rapidly. The Cants are focusing on raising the profile of the company and offering the services of a large multinational corporation while actually working from a local business base.
Julia spoke about insurance brokers ten years ago, and how a lot of them shut down or amalgamated. The current economy in Aberdeen means that it is a good time for insurance because companies are taking every penny as a prisoner.
The local roots PIB are putting down in Aberdeen will focus them for the future. Their reach is across the north-east and beyond, so they cover a very wide area while priding themselves in giving a personal service to their clients. Julia is much more of a people person and is better at working on client relationships, while Graeme is more about the insurance.
Julia said: “I’m interested in people and in finding out about people and spend a lot of my time doing that.
“We are a local broker with the capabilities of working with big companies.”
“We like challenges, so that is good.”
In the next two years they would like to establish themselves in the local market and be able to look back and have a foundation. They hope to be able to build on their ability to work with companies who are based in the area and give them the personal service which the industry needs.
Julia will be doing a lot of networking and trying to be as visible as possible to help boost the profile of the company. The couple, who have been married for four years, are trying to build a solid client base for the future while also working together as husband and wife.
Julia said: “I suppose it is quite unique. We are used to it as we met working together, so that is all we know.
Graeme said: “In our last role we weren’t working directly together. We were in different departments, so we’ve had to adapt to this.”
Julia said: “We now have the same goal and we’ve realised our strengths are now coming to light and we meet somewhere in the middle.
“It has challenges but it brings out your strengths more.”