Coffee with… Vicky Hoyle

I sit down with Vicky Hoyle, our new Accounts Assistant at The Romero Group

Posted on | Posted in General
We talk to Vicky about her storied career in insurance; starting at an independent firm, rooting herself within the UK’s biggest broker and then having those roots ripped out by an American Global conglomerate.


Vicky also discusses her favourite pastimes as well as her move to Romero, answering why she swapped Egg Banjos for Pivot Tables.

“I moved up to Yorkshire from Essex where I used to work for the military,” Vicky says as she casually sips her mid-morning coffee.

“My dad was a WO1 with the Royal Signals, and I ran the mess alongside the Military Mess Manager at the Colchester Garrison – do you know what a mess is?” Vicky asks as I stare at her blankly. “A mess is where all the sergeants, officers live and eat. It involves finances, bars, restaurants, so it was a hospitality role really. I’d worked for the military for a long time before I moved back up to live with my grandma and my sister in Yorkshire.”

“My first year in accounts was for a small printers in Bradford. After a year I told my recruiter I wanted to restart my career, they got me an interview at independent insurance broker in West Yorkshire and I really enjoyed it.” She stops, smiles, and says: “It was very similar to how Romeros is now; all the colleagues were very supportive, active, outgoing; and because I didn’t know anyone in Yorkshire I quickly made some really good friends.”

“I started my AAT there but we were so busy – the workload in accounts is constant, you’ve basically got 30-31 days to do your work and then it starts all over again. But everyone was content, there was a good social-life.” I stop her and ask if that’s what she looks for in a workplace and Vicky replies: “If you can play well together, you can work well together.”


– Then the whole dynamic of the business changed


“But it all started changing when we were no longer an independent broker.” I challenged Vicky on what she means, and she responds by saying the first change she noticed was the loss of the social atmosphere. She recounts that – although all the staff were (initially) retained – annual events and company-led social outings disappeared: “Even though the directors remained in the business, they could not run the business how they wanted to due to the restrictions, which was then felt by the staff. The directors are answerable to other people, changing how they think and they are then unable to properly act on behalf of their staff.”

“Take-overs also affect clients. Each client gets reviewed and perhaps won’t be continued despite their relationship, it can be really unsettling for staff.” She sips her coffee and collects her thoughts. “The whole dynamic of the business changes. They centralised accounts, within three months we were losing work and within nine months we’d all moved into different departments.”

“I struggled with the dynamic change. I started to do some handling; commercial and corporate handling. But I was too anxious about making mistakes, I’d lost my confidence. And learning a new job, in a new team – I found it very hard.”


– We were no longer a name we were a number


“And then, when the Global American broker came along, that’s when we started to lose staff.” Vicky licks her lips and continues: “They really put the sting on things, all that time you’d spent investing in your staff and they all start to go out the door” – she’s talking much more quickly now – “people didn’t feel like they belonged. The first thing the business did was give us each identification numbers; we were no longer a name we were a number.”

“I was offered a role as an Exec Assistant, looking after the finance reports for the remaining Directors and all the Branch Directors. And as a single female that has to support herself, I chose to stay.” She looks at me and shrugs her shoulders. After a brief moment, she says “They then did another massive reshuffle, the big boss came over from America and single-handedly realigned everyone’s jobs… and that’s when I put myself forward for voluntary redundancy.”


– An independent broker gives his client the best service


I tell her she has done an excellent job whisking me through her eclectic career in the industry, and without me needing to ask Vicky chimes… “So the reason why I choose to work for an independent broker is the strength in his own business. The fact that you can go there, you can settle, you can stay loyal, your career will be developed, you’ll make long-term colleagues again.”

“An independent broker will always have the opportunity to give his client the best service. It’s why I decided to stay in insurance and why I would now only ever work for an independent broker. I’m just lucky to work for the biggest one.” She catches herself and laughs.


– If you can play well together, you can work well together


I thank Vicky for her time, telling her how well she has articulated her story and whether she would like to answer some of our more relaxed questions. Vicky takes the questions from me and reels them off without hesitation:

“For a biscuit I’d be custard crème; they are soft and caring but have a hard shell. If I could go back to the past I’d go back to 1999; trance, techno, getting lost in London. No-one should ever judge you for your youth because it makes you the old lady that you are nowadays. Sports-wise – I run, but not very well… or often… or ever. I’ve just bought a new car, picked it up last night, a new souped-up-Polo-thing, it’s got too many gadgets.”

“Five minutes of fame? I’ve met loads of the Royal family – Princess Anne wanted beans instead of all the posh food we’d made and Prince Charles is not as pompous as they make him out to be. Something invaluable to me? My grandma’s eternity ring. My grandad bought it when he came back from Dunkirk, it’s too delicate to wear.”

Finally, I ask her the three questions from Desert Island Discs: “One book – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. One song – Waterloo by Abba. And the luxury item would be my Elemis collagen face cream, because you don’t look this young without collagen.”

Independent and proud, Vicky knows what she likes to see from her brokers. She is hoping to put down new roots after her extensive career in the sector.
Always on top of insurance industry news, Vicky will be watching our sixes. We are proud to have Vicky with us to help our team grow.
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