Did you know that we’ve been trusted insurance experts since 1887?
Today, we continue to follow Tommy’s example by innovating, growing and diversifying.
Arranging insurance for jewellers has been the beating heart of our business ever since. We think Tommy would be proud of what we’ve achieved.
Back in 1887, the son of a Hatton Garden diamond merchant, Tommy March (frequently known only by the initials T.H.M.), discovered that marketing insurance was more profitable than selling jewellery.
Tommy was a fascinating character who had a reputation for business excellence. His contemporaries described him as “a man of elegance who carried himself with an air of confidence”. With an adventurous spirit, he was often praised for “his breadth of vision and exuberant generosity”. He also had a flair for self-promotion and was applauded in one national newspaper for his “professional eminence and humour.”
Since 1887, TH March has been a pioneer of specialist ‘Jewellers Block’ policies (underwritten by Lloyd’s). In 1906 we were appointed insurance brokers to the National Association of Goldsmiths and in 1967 we became insurance brokers to the British Jewellers’ Association.
Over the years, TH March has developed new ways of supporting the industry. Since 2009, we’ve been proud to play a leading role in SaferGems – an intelligence and crime prevention initiative to tackle the increased threat to the jewellery, pawnbroking, arts and antiques sector.
This cheque was paid within four days following a claim from a NAG member after a robbery in 1911. The customer stated how the “NAG All Risks Policy is becoming an increasing necessity to members” and how “prompt and satisfying the large claim was met”. In those days, many jewellers held policies which only covered half of their risks.
The NAG Policy, sold via TH March, had many advantages that were not included in other policies for retailers at the time. These included accessing expert risk advice and liability for fire and burglary.
The 1913 TH March trailblazing ‘Quiver’ policy covered seven multiple household risks. These included the bursting of pipes, transit, damage, fire, rent, robbery, burglary, and employers’ liability. Before the launch of the Quiver policy, customers had to buy each policy separately. That is why the Quiver policy’s strapline was “Seven insurances all in one”.
The advert used the Latin term or phrase “Moneo et munio”, which means “I advise and defend”. 109 years on, we still think we were aiming right on target with the Quiver policy.
In 1913, eight years after entering TH March, Frederick Ferraro rose to the rank of Secretary. When the First World War broke out he was expected to join the armed services on a full-time basis and in January 1917 had to resign to fulfil his military duties. The company appointed his sister Amelia (who had also joined in 1913) to act in his place.
Despite the manpower crisis, the volume of our business was, by and large, maintained throughout the war. And this is testament to the people who kept the company going.
In 1911 T.H.M. & Co. became a Limited Company. Tommy March sent Frederick Ferraro a formal letter detailing his registration as a shareholder and “with pleasure handling you herewith share certificate no. 2 in this company”. The enclosed contained a receipt for the £1 he had subscribed.
Given the pressures of the First World War and Frederick’s military duties, this was a turbulent time and the company experienced many changes in leadership and shareholders. By 1927, Frederick Ferraro had acquired shareholder control and decided to spread his shares among his family.
On 2 June 1953, millions of people tuned into to watch the coronation of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. Many had purchased or rented television sets for the historic event.
Some TH March customers got much closer to the action. Frederick Ferraro invited our clients to a lavish coronation party held at the Oxford Street office. The return procession followed a five-mile route, passing through Marble Arch and Oxford Circus, before travelling down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. That meant our guests had a good view of the Royal guests returning from the Abbey.
The ‘Goodwill’ sickness and accident staff scheme was an innovative TH March policy for the National Association of Goldsmiths. It offered cover for sickness and accident benefits, which was also known as goodwill. The short-term protection (up to 12-months) it offered in case of unforeseen circumstances was crucial if an illness or injury prevented you from working.
Many NAG members benefited from the policy’s compensation, which very few employers offered at this time. Times have changed but we continue to help our commercial clients support the health and wellbeing of their staff.
This advert, published in December 1964, aimed to encourage fathers to be a “Good Old Dad”. The March Hare exclaimed: “If he’d put away a pound a month when you were a child, you’d have a jolly fine twenty-first birthday policy,” and “you could use the money to buy almost any policy you wanted!”.
“Nothing flies so fast as time. To the father who knows what will face his son twenty years from now, he may be playing with his building bricks now, but in twenty years’ time real bricks and mortar will be his concern”.
With the continued growth of the company, 1964 saw the emergence of a new subsidiary T.H. March (Life & Pensions) Ltd. to provide service in the fields of life assurance and pensions.
The moto was “whether family protection, house purchase, education or estate duty, or plain investment are in question, expert advice is obtainable through T.H. March without sales pressure.”
The same ethos applies today. As a TH March customer, you are looked after by a trusted firm of Chartered Insurance Brokers subscribing to a strict code of ethics.
In the early 1960s, TH March Managing Director Roger Ferraro travelled by train to our London office and, in a chance meeting with a close friend who was an artist and cartoonist, created the ‘March Hare’ and led to a series of advertisements for life insurance and pensions.
The March Hare was a highly original creation that represented a visionary approach to promoting insurance in the 1960s.
Our National Service Centre in Devon is called “Hare Park House”. Do you get the reference?
In the early 1970s we launched a new booklet to promote our personal jewellery insurance. The brochure quoted 14th century poem Piers Ploughman to show our customers that, with our help, they could wear their jewels without worry. The message still rings true 52 years on:
“The full enjoyment which comes from wearing the possession of fine jewels is something marred by the fear that they may be lost or damaged.” These words may be centuries old, but the meaning is as true as it ever was.