The story starts back in 1999 when Mark Boon, then a partner at a respected regional insurance broker, realised that too many creative and innovative organisations were buying insurance policies that were the wrong shape, the wrong size and the wrong price.
A musician himself, Mark had carved out a niche insuring music and arts organisations, professional musicians and media companies. Together with colleague Matt Mullee, who worked with affluent individuals insuring high value homes, fine art, antiques and jewellery, he set up La Playa to support clients with truly specialist policies, expert advice and genuinely personal service. It started in Mark's spare room, then upgraded to his barn, moved to a beautiful farm in Cambridge's Silicon Fen, and then to the neighbourhood of global innovation hub Cambridge Science Park – as well as London and midtown New York. All hotbeds of creativity. Our private client portfolio includes many musicians, writers, creative folk who run our client businesses - and people who just live life to the full!
Why ‘La Playa’? It’s Spanish for “The Beach”, of course – and Mark has a passion for all things Spanish (Andalucia is something of a spiritual heartland!) We started at “Silicon Fen” in Waterbeach, and our general philosophy is that life’s a beach!
La Playa is all about relationships - "people like you like us" means we work with people we respect and trust (both clients and insurers); clients self-select and bring their friends - and once they're with us, we tend to stick together. The better we know and understand you, you better we can serve you. One size doesn't fit all in insurance - a little fine tuning can make all the difference: streamlining cover where you're not really at risk, strengthening cover where you're exposed, presenting a realistic picture of the risk to the underwriters to achieve the best possible terms. And underwriters trust our in-depth understanding of our clients - they trust us to help you manage that risk well and reward us with great rates.
Anyway, we digress; pretty soon our media clients took us into technology as the digital age took hold, and we brought in experts like Matt Clark, one of the most experienced technology brokers on the International scene, to look after innovators from app developers and social media ninjas to the geniuses who bring us new medical devices like pain-free injections.
In 2010 we became concerned about sparky clients who were starting to work in the USA. They just weren't getting the specialist insurance they needed - so we decided to go with them, providing a bridge to London, the "cradle" of insurance. We opened our New York office just as the frenzy of digital media was taking off on the East Coast, a heady time of VC activity, fast-moving innovation, privacy paranoia and patent wars!
As our client base became more international, their needs became more complex. Insuring homes and businesses, art collections and boats across several territories requires some serious expertise and advice. In 2011 Mike Taylor-West joined us, bringing yacht and superyacht insurance into our Private Client offering, creating holistic wraparound insurance for international Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals and families, and raising our profile in the family office and trusts environment. Private jet insurance was an obvious next step, with aviation expert Helen Hollins coming on board. And in 2017 we launched a dedicated Fine Art practice with Jane Byde.
Mark is a change-junkie – so the story develops daily – watch this space! But what you'll ALWAYS get with us is great advice from a human being.