Mark Wilkinson talks exclusively about the long road to Heritage Insurance, moving forward and getting practical.
Mark Wilkinson had never actually worked in the insurance industry until he joined his father Chris Wilkinson at Heritage. Nor did he have any desire to. It’s funny how things change.
It’s fair to say Mark has been around car insurance all his life, he recalls “as a young boy I distinctly remember my father coming home from work with a story or two about a day in the life of the classic car insurer”. Little did he know that he would eventually understand exactly what his father meant.
Mark decided to further his education and university beckoned with the reward for his hard work being a BA Honours in Business Studies or as Mark described it “I’m now a Jack of all trades, master of none”. Or so it would seem.
As part of his ongoing studies he landed a work placement for a print management company in Amsterdam back in 1992 and was based there for a whole year. “Whilst out there I had to get myself some transport” Mark explains “I managed to buy a 1980 Mk II Ford Fiesta for just 50 Guilders which was, of course, an absolute bargain!” This works out to be less than £20 in today’s money and the Fiesta would actually be a classic car now.
Back home, Mark’s studies continued with an opportunity to travel to the many Islands of Indonesia on a wild adventure through Jakarta, Java and Bali, looking back he recalls “the sights and sounds were indescribable! Although it feels like another lifetime ago”.
Then on to Australia where Mark experienced working as a cotton chipper amongst other things. Mark tells me “we were up at 4.00 am to begin the long journey to work, we started at 6.00 am and worked hard in the field with temperature soaring into the low forties”. For nearly 3 months, Mark laboured in the fields, not for the faint hearted!
Meanwhile homeward bound, Mark had gained a position working for a computer / telecommunications company in the U.K as the company was looking to expand, a move to the States alongside the Managing Director setting up a U.S operation was soon on the cards, and so Mark went for it. Quite a commitment you would say, but not for a seasoned international traveler.
This proved successful, in fact, a little too successful Mark explains “I was faced with the difficult decision to leave England permanently and carry on working stateside or leave work and come home”. Mark patriotically decided the latter. Although his memories of five years in the States and the world famous Laguna Beach will always be fond ones, except for the American hire cars, apparently you don’t need to know his thoughts on them!
Back in the UK and Mark’s thoughts turn to the next big challenge. There was no doubt that with his skills and experience to fall back on, there would be plenty of opportunities in a variety of industries to choose from.
In the interim period Mark decided to assist Chris and Heritage Insurance with I.T installations and upgrades amongst other things, and found himself getting more and more involved in the general running and decision-making of the business. “Natural progression” Mark calls it; he may have also mentioned “slippery slope” but don’t quote me on that, after all I do work for Mr Wilkinson.
It has been 10 years now since Mark joined the business and in 2014 became a managing partner. To his credit, Heritage Insurance has seen many positive changes of late, with a conscious effort to reinforce and expand the companies place in the market. Mark states, “it is important to look into the future of the classic car industry. With a new breed of enthusiast entering the market, it is vital we remain resourceful by listening to our customers needs and responding with the right products supplied by knowledgeable like-minded individuals”.
Marks experience in business has been the key to the changing face of Heritage Classic Car Insurance. Whilst we have always taken great pride in consistently meeting our clients expectations, after 50 years of successfully trading we now offer an individual service like no other, with our Personal Client Managers ensuring you get the best from your classic insurance provider.
Going forward, it seems evident that Mark’s plan is to build on what we already have here at Heritage Insurance, and that is a commitment to provide a first-class service to all of our clients. So if you aren’t already insured with Heritage, don’t you think you should be?