Specialist insurance broker Footman James ploughed more than £600,000 into the classic vehicle movement in 2011 via its support of classic car and motorcycle clubs and estimates it will offer even more club support in 2012.
Footman James paid in the region of £610,000 to clubs during 2011, representing a 14 per cent increase on the commission paid during 2010 (£535,000).
The specialist broker now offers club member insurance schemes to more than 200 classic car and motorcycle clubs across the UK, and will continue to build on this number in 2012.
Many of its club partners earn an amount of commission for each classic car, modern car, motorcycle or home insurance policy bought from Footman James by their members.
Most club partners then use this money to support national events and rallies, while some have even used their commission payments to build or extend their club headquarters.
In addition to this valuable financial support, Footman James employs two life-long classic vehicle enthusiasts to oversee club relations and offer advice and guidance to the clubs and the members that put their trust in Footman James.
Dave Youngs and Martyn Raybould are responsible for managing and developing the club relationships and have worked closely with their own portfolio of clubs for the past two years.
Dave, 38, a self-confessed 'petrol-head' is in the midst of restoring his Triumph Spitfire 1500 and says a Series 3 Jaguar XJ6 and a MK1 Ford Escort 1300 are among the classics he most enjoyed owning. Currently on the look-out for a pre-1973 Land Rover, Dave would also like to find a 'bargain' Morris Minor which he would like to restore in time for the 2012 Morris Minor Club Show. Dave admits that the Morris Minor Club holds a special place in his heart as the majority of the Club committee came to his rescue, helping him and his girlfriend erect their tent in gale force winds at the Club's National Show a couple of years ago.
Explaining why he loves his job, he said: "I particularly enjoy building and sustaining strong relationships with the car clubs and attending their events – there's nothing like standing next to an open bonnet, discussing the merits of a particular vehicle with a like-minded enthusiast."
Another keen enthusiast is 53-year-old Martyn Raybould, whose responsibilities include working closely with clubs to build vibrant memberships to benefit both clubs and Footman James in the long term.
Martyn, who counts sports motorcycle riding as a passion alongside his love of classic vehicles, rates a 1978 Mercedes 280 SE as his most cherished classic, and a Lancia Beta Spider as the most fun to drive. In addition to managing the Club relationship for Footman James, Martyn is also an active member of the Mercedes Benz Club.
He explained: "I have a penchant for managing relationships, and where those relationships bring me into contact with people who are passionate about what they do, it becomes a very rewarding work/life scenario indeed.
There is an unspoken friendship and bond between strangers on the roads where a passion for cars or bikes is shared, and to immerse myself in the activities of the clubs as part of my working life is a unique privilege."
Andy Fairchild, Footman James' managing director, said: "We believe that it is essential to support the grass roots of the classic vehicle industry in order for it to thrive and continue to prosper.
"Though business from clubs is obviously beneficial to us, we are delighted that the commission that clubs earn from our schemes can make a huge difference to them."
He added: "Sometimes, commission schemes are not always the most relevant way to support a club, and in these circumstances, we are committed to supporting clubs in other ways, such as sponsoring events or taking out advertising.
"We will continue to do all we can to ensure we support clubs wherever possible, which includes having our two business development executives out on the road, listening and responding to the needs of what is undoubtedly the true lifeblood of the industry."