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From Fries to Fry

Feb 12, 2014
Peter Doman has recently become a Director of Basil E. Fry Company Ltd. after six years working as an Account Executive with the company. Peter’s role will be to use his business experience to help continue the company’s growth in the removals and self storage sectors.

Peter was new to the insurance industry when he joined Basil Fry in October 2007 with his first career in a very different sector.


While studying at Wellington School and Bournemouth University he worked part time at McDonald’s.  After leaving education he decided to stay at McDonald’s and was quickly promoted within the organisation to become an Assistant Manager and, in 1995, to run the McDonald’s restaurant in Southampton High Street, a store with 120 staff and a £2.1m annual turnover. 


The following year it was awarded McDonald’s Store of the Year.


In 1997 Peter was promoted to run multiple sites across Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire and became an operations consultant in 1999.  By 2007 he was responsible for a turnover approaching £13m and staff of 500. 


When Peter’s daughter was born in July 2006 he decided that the unsocial hours of the restaurant business were not conducive to family life and started looking for an alternative career.  Coincidently at this time Basil Fry was in the process of a management buy out and Philip and Greg Wildman, the company’s Directors, felt that his management and corporate experience would be an asset to their business.


“At the time, we had a choice between a recognised account executive working in insurance for the removals industry or Peter,” explained Greg. “We both felt that Peter’s broad range of skills partnered with our in-house training would result in a much better outcome for the company and our clients and we feel that this has been the case. Obviously, the initial decision required a leap of faith, but very quickly it became apparent that it had been right for us.”


After joining the company in October 2007, Peter completed industry exams and in just over 6 months, achieved the Certificate from the Chartered Insurance Institute and became responsible for his own portfolio of new business within Basil Fry.  Over the next six years he developed a personal client base of over 300 companies.  He quickly became a familiar face at industry conferences and gave his support to the BAR, Britannia and SSA conferences and the Movers & Storers Show.  In 2010 he also became the BAR Area Secretary for the Southern Area. 


“After six years watching from the side line and taking a step back from being ‘A boss’, I am really looking forward to supporting the rest of the Basil Fry & Company Board. Since 2007, the industries we support have gone through some extremely testing times and it is testament to the hard work of all the staff and directors that we have grown the business and client numbers dramatically during the worst recession of our lifetimes. I see my position as a director is to help to continue to grow the company consistently as it has done over the last 43 years. This growth can only continue by providing the very best products to our customers at the most competitive price available and by investing in our people.”


Peter said that it was also the company’s responsibility to add value to its suite of products by providing outstanding customer service and specialist industry knowledge. “Our ethos is one of sustainability in insurance and it is for this reason that we are able to offer products with insurers who we have been using since the 1970’s. A stable recognised partnership with insurers allows both parties to approach challenges and opportunities together for the benefit of the removals industry as a whole. With access to the Composite and Lloyds markets we are in an excellent position to service accounts in the UK and Europe.”


In recent years Basil Fry has invested in new internal IT systems and increased its staff from 14 in 2001 to 37 in 2014.  “We will continue to invest in their training by ensuring that all Account Handlers are actively working towards the Insurance Institute exams. We believe that our progression is linked to recruitment decisions we make in addition to relationships and provision of high quality insurance products and this is one of the factors that is central to our consideration in moving the business forward up to our 50th anniversary in 2021 and beyond."


Outside of work Peter enjoys travel and keeping fit including playing tennis, squash and swinging a club or two on the golf course.  Those who attended the Movers and Storers Show in October will also know that he can hold a tune pretty well too as he ably demonstrated to a stunned audience during the karaoke interlude.


Image:  Peter Doman and Greg Wildman

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