Duncan Sutcliffe didn’t always want to go into the family insurance business.

His father, grandfather and two great-grandfathers had been in the insurance industry but Duncan always wanted to join the army, saying: “The thought of becoming an insurance broker would be a very strange childhood ambition.

“The army sponsored me through university and I then spent six years as an infantry officer before taking up a commercial management role for a large organisation in Surrey.

“Military experience has helped me with leadership and organisational skills as well as confidence and thinking on my feet – it also taught me to see humour in most circumstances.”

Born in Worcester, Duncan found the role in Surrey frustrating and was looking to move when his father asked if he was interested in working for him. Despite having no experience in insurance, he says he found the subject fascinating, breezed through the exam and came back to Worcester to be a broker.

Sutcliffe & Co has gone through a series of transformations over the years and its current format is a legacy of Duncan’s late father, Richard, who spent over 40 years as a broker in Worcester.

“The insurance market has changed significantly over the 16 years I have been involved," said Duncan, 48. “When I joined there was almost no regulation, we were still using typewriters, communication was largely by letter or fax and it was the Yellow Pages people turned to for quotes, not the internet.”

Duncan, now director of Sutcliffe & Co in Foundry Street, Worcester, stressed the emphasis that he and his team place on people rather than figures.

“In recent times much of the insurance market has become commoditised and automated – this is not an area we want to get involved with. They know that in the event of a claim we are there to hold their hand through the process and get them a fair settlement and as a result we've built up friendships with clients.”