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Topsail’s newest directors – One year on!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Topsail’s newest directors – One year on!

We are so pleased that Director of Underwriting, Ric De Cristofano, and Director of Operations, Nigel Hawkes, have now been with us for a full year – hasn’t time flown by! 

It has been brilliant to be able to draw on their expertise in the yacht market over the past 12 months and they became incredibly valuable assets to the team very quickly. 

It certainly hasn’t been the easiest year to start at a new company – given that most people in the UK have been working from home for the past year it certainly makes it much more tricky to learn new processes and systems, but we are all proud that it has been a success to date. 

Nigel had to say, ‘My first job change in over twenty years just as the planet goes into meltdown!  Can’t say I didn’t lose some sleep but Topsail is a resilient business and I learnt a lot in that difficult time’.

We’ve also all greatly missed getting together and being able to socialise – Ric commented, ‘We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy things like zoom quizzes, virtual cocktail making classes and even a virtual escape room but I look forward to that first time when we can all get together which I hope is not too far away now’.

Topsail have made great strides of progress in the past year despite the pandemic, and when asked their best achievement in the last 12 months, Nigel felt that his greatest achievement is definitely the launch of our Quote & Buy System for boat insurance – he said, ‘It’s so good and I have seen none better in our market, even if I say so myself!’

Check it out here and get a quote: https://www.topsailinsurance.com/boat-insurance.html 

On Ric’s biggest achievement, he shared, ‘I think Topsail buying another yacht business during a global pandemic has to be up there.  It’s also the first acquisition I’d done outside of the corporate world so we didn’t have whole teams of people to fall back on. It’s very refreshing to be hugely more hands on. There were lots of little challenges to be resolved before a deal could be done but ultimately it’s now about being able to provide the clients with a good service and so far I think we’ve done a good job of that.’

Our acquisition of Y Yacht Insurance has definitely been a success so far and we are so pleased to be able to assist with their customers needs, and welcome them into the Topsail fold. 

Read our full interview with Ric & Nigel below: 

- How have you enjoyed your first year at Topsail? 

Nigel: They say time flies when you are having fun! Well I just can’t believe how quickly that year has gone – guess that speaks for itself! 

Ric: It’s been such a nice contrast moving into a small nimble company having spent the last 20 years of my career in a global corporate environment.  Of course there are pro’s and con’s for both,   in the corporate world there’s the safety of committees and departments that have already considered all aspects of risk, compliance and governance but I’ve really enjoyed that feeling of having the ability to act on decisions we’re taking ourselves and often get from idea to implementation stage within a few days.

- What has been your favourite moment? 

Nigel: When I kept reading how respected and valued Topsail is by its clients and the opportunity that exists for this business once we make the wider boating community know we are here.  

What was the last boat you were on?

Ric: My last powered vessel experience was chartering a RIB during the Round the Island race two years ago.  Apart from the thrill of a RIB ride the Round the Island Race It’s an amazing spectator experience and if you’ve got friends who are unsure about the romance of boating this would probably tip the scales. Hundreds of sails billowing in the wind is a sight to behold.   

That aside I’m hoping to crew for a friend this year on his Maxi yacht.  Nothing as strenuous as racing just a nice peaceful weekend of pottering around.  A little breeze and a little sun would be ideal!

Nigel: That would be the ‘Britannia’ cruising from Southampton to the Caribbean! Let’s hope that vessels large and small can start sailing in earnest this year! 

- What would you hope to achieve in the next 12 months and do you have any exciting work in the pipeline? 

Ric: We’re looking to build the business both organically and via acquisitions so we’ve currently got a few things going on in the background.  I can’t say too much as they’re all confidential at this stage but we’re open to opportunities whether they are brokers accounts, binding authorities, new products or established businesses for sale.

The challenge we’ve set ourselves is to build Topsail into a brand that customers automatically think of for their boat insurance needs.   What’s going to help us get there is to give a better service than anyone else in the market.

Nigel: There is absolutely loads we are working on – just watch this space…..






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