Our Credentials – experience that speaks for itself, plus 36 industry award nominations

Matthew Collins Ascend Broking

Matthew Collins

Managing Director

Matthew.collins@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449060 | Mobile: 07901 551965

Matthew has 35 years broking and underwriting experience, both as part of the management team at an award-winning independent broker, as National Broking Director and UK Board member at Oval Insurance Broking and as Market Management Director at Arthur J Gallagher.

Matthew is a well-known figure within the insurance market, and, with his experience and connections, our clients benefit by being able to access specialist insurers at reduced distribution costs. Overseeing our growing sector development at Ascend, he has previously led teams that have won numerous industry awards. Matthew served on the Willis Towers Watson Networks Governance board member, helping form the future of the £500m gross premium network. Very hands on, you will find Matthew’s approach and different way of doing things very refreshing.

A Chelmsford City fan and Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holder, Matthew is married to Fiona who is a published author and they have three children together.

Matt Price

Broking Director

Matt.price@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 975248 | Mobile: 07841 020712

Matt has nearly 25 years of commercial insurance broking experience across independent and multinational brokers. Prior to joining Ascend, Matt worked for Willis Towers Watson as Divisional Director within the UK & Global Transportation & Marine division – specialising for 7 years in freight forwarders, hauliers, car transportation and shipping – and, for 5 years, as the senior broker within Oval Insurance Broking.

Matt has a reputation as a personable, service-driven deal maker bringing clients and insurers together for specialist wordings and products. He has overall responsibility of the group’s broking and servicing strategy.

Matt is a Leyton Orient fan and is married to Cheryl who is a TV producer with a number of well-known shows under her belt. They have 3 children.

Simon Horton

Transportation & Logistics Director

Simon.horton@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 373626 | Mobile: 07841 020435

Simon heads up the growing Ascend Transportation department, specialising in the haulage, car transportation, freight and associated trades. With over 20 years transportation broking experience, Simon has held a number of high profile market positions, most recently as deputy managing director at Arthur J Gallagher, Feering. Simon has a wealth of experience developing and managing exclusive schemes and facilities within the transportation sector.

Simon is well known in the Transportation market and has experience handling multi national, large complex fleet and transit arrangements, through to difficult-to-place start ups.

Simon supports Barnet FC and has been known to enjoy the odd rock concert.

Ian Lawley

Technical Director

Ian.lawley@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449060 | Mobile: 07397 195739

Working at the sharp end of the business, Ian delivers insurance and claims solutions for clients. With over 30 years experience in both independent and multinational brokers, he is a trusted figure in the insurance market and his expertise has been instrumental in the development of policy wording for leading insurers Aviva, AXA, CNA, RSA, HSB and Zurich. 

Ian is a member of the Willis Towers Watson Network Construction Specialist Practice Group. 

Paul Bennett

Development Manager

Paul.bennett@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449060 | Mobile: 07532 792772

Paul has a wealth of sales and development experience gained over the last 35 years within his own business, large blue chip organisations and across growing privately-owned businesses.

Paul oversees the marketing and sales strategy of Ascend and brings fresh ideas and delivery mechanisms to the business. Paul is also a qualified Mechanical Engineer and delivers his own refreshing personal strategy when it comes to engaging with new clients.

A West Ham season ticket holder, Paul also still finds time to play amateur football  – a throwback to his professional playing days in Australia in the 1970’s.

Jo Phillibrown

Office Manager

Jo.phillibrown@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449068

Jo has over 14 years’ experience within the insurance industry.  She has previously worked at FMW, Oval Insurance Broking, Arthur J Gallagher and Aston Lark, involved in broking administration and, for the last three years, acting as a motor claims handler as well as a PA role.

Jo is married to Richard and they have a daughter.  She spends her free time walking her two English pointers, Woodstock and Peppermint Patty!

Mackenzie Ward

Operations Manager

Mackenzie.ward@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 975251

Mackenzie joined Ascend’s sales and marketing apprenticeship scheme in 2020, generating leads and creating different campaigns. He has more recently moved to the broking team, working to help keep processes moving seamlessly.

A PADI certified diver, Mackenzie is also a keen Liverpool fan with always something to say about the game!

Nigel Holmes

Development Executive

Nigel.holmes@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 373678

Nigel has vast sales and marketing experience, having worked in the furniture and textiles industries for over 30 years managing his own business. More recently, he set his hand to importing and distributing wine and spirits in the Canaries, returning to the UK to join our team.

Nigel is always looking to develop networks by using his ‘people skills’, and to learn new concepts.

Nigel is a passionate sportsman – still representing Essex at Seniors cricket – and a West Ham fan. He is a proud father of twin boys.

Stuart Belbin

Senior Account Executive

Stuart.belbin@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 975263

Stuart joined Ascend in October 2020, having previously worked at A Plan and WRS, where he developed his specialism in the commercial and charity sectors. At Ascend, Stuart leads the development of these sectors as a customer-facing account executive with experience in providing effective cost & risk management insurance solutions. He is Chartered Insurance Institute qualified (CII).

Stuart is a keen West Ham fan and likes to keep fit by running, cycling and going to the gym. Stuart has also been known to climb mountains and spent six months doing this whilst travelling around New Zealand.

Lawrence Fuller

Senior Account Executive

Lawrence.fuller@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 955075 | Mobile: 07736 956213

Lawrence began as a class 1 driver for many years and currently still holds a class 1 licence. He changed occupation to a commercial broker, specialising in the haulage insurance sector at senior positions. Now with 23 years’ experience in the industry, he has expert knowledge of the sector, not to mention the skills and understanding from being on both sides of the business, so he can give assurance to clients they are in good hands.

Lawrence has a variety of interests, from football, golf and motorcycles, to quiet nights in.

Steven Gillespie

Account Executive

Steven.gillespie@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 373655

Steven joined Ascend in December 2021, having previously worked at Devitt Insurance for 8 years, across multiple departments including Personal Lines, High Net Worth and Commercial. He has a keen interest in the Motor Trade and Commercial insurance sectors, predominately insuring motor dealerships and MOT repair workshops, alongside their Property Owner portfolios.

Outside of work, Steven is usually occupied by doing DIY on his house in Chelmsford, whilst trying to tame a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy called Sonny.

Chris Buchholz

Account Executive

chris.buchholz@ascendbroking.co.uk | Mobile: 07842 021430

Chris has gained a broad knowledge of the insurance world after nearly 15 years’ working in the industry. He has worked in a variety of roles ranging from broking, management and, currently, as an Account Executive, developing his growing client base here at Ascend.

Chris focusses on businesses in the property and manufacturing arenas; however, he can confidently turn his hand to haulage, transportation and the motor trade, having also worked for many years in these sectors.

Chris enjoys watching snooker, and clay pigeon shooting in the fairer weather.

Mel Seymour

Account Handler

Mel.seymour@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449067

Mel will oversee the day-to-day administration of your account and has experience as a London placement broker at Citynet Insurance Brokers and Carrol London Markets. Having decided to leave the City, Mel joined Ascend in the summer of 2019 and is an immediate contact point for your team.

Mel has been known to enjoy the occasional game of table tennis, follows Arsenal and enjoys the banter that being married to a Tottenham supporter brings to the household.

Max Collins


Max.collins@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449064

Max joined in 2017 as our first employee – as an administration assistant – and quickly progressed to the marketing team, generating leads and heading up email campaigns.

More recently, he has transferred some of these skills to the broking team where he deals with new business enquiries, renewal negotiations and client queries, whilst still developing direct sales.

Max is our leading charity fundraiser, having been part of the team that  completed a Skydive, a 7.5km mud run and a 3-day London-to-Paris bike.

A keen footballer, Max is an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal.

Eddie Carter


Eddie.carter@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449065

Eddie joined Ascend as a marketing executive in 2019 and has recently transferred to our Broking department, where he heads up new business broking and renewal negotiations.

Eddie was the first employee to come through our training academy and is following in his grandfather’s footsteps, forging a career in insurance.

In his spare time, Eddie keeps fit and is a Liverpool fan, Eddie made it to the Champions League final – he just didn’t have a ticket! 

Amy English

Account Handler

Amy.english@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449065

Amy joined Ascend in December 2023 with 10 years’ experience in Personal Lines, Fleet and Commercial Insurances. She has experience in both the Broking and Underwriting Insurance sectors.

Amy most recently worked for MS Amlin, as an Underwriting Assistant, dealing predominantly with Property Owners, Motor Trade and Commercial Combined, although she had dealings with a plethora of other insurance products. Amy was with the company for 5 years, before MS Amlin decided to close that arm of the business.

Prior to working for MS Amlin, Amy worked for Towergate for 4 years, plus a small independent broker, J&M Insurance, for a year before that.

Amy is currently part-time with the business, but is excited to grow with us.


Alex Patten - Claims Manager

Alex Patten

Claims Manager

Alex.patten@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449069

Alex heads up our claims service and has over 25 years experience dealing with transportation. construction and property accounts. She has previously worked at FMW Freight, Oval Insurance Broking & Arthur J Gallagher and is very hands on.

Overseeing the claims service delivery and leading our award-winning First Notification of Loss system, Alex is able to tailor the claims service to your requirements.

Alex keeps active playing netball.  She is married to Andy and they have 2 children.

Marianne Turner - Senior Claims Negotiator

Marianne Turner

Senior Claims Handler

Marianne.turner@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449069

Marianne joined Ascend in April 2022 and has over 20 years of Motor Insurance claims experience, having worked for Highway Insurance and RSA, handling claims ranging from AD to Personal Injury.

Marianne is married to Shaun and they have 2 children. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family.

Kristian Breeze

Head of Healthcare

Kristian.breeze@ascendhealth.co.uk | Office: 01245 929129

Kristian heads up the health insurance division, ‘Ascend Health’.

Kristian comes with a vast array of experience in healthcare, having worked for one of the UK’s largest Health Insurance intermediaries at Howden and subsequently in business development and growth at the UK’s most historic health insurer National Friendly, where he was responsible for widening distribution channels and increasing company visibility across the UK intermediary landscape.

He also has experience in the Lloyds and company markets with exposure to creating bespoke international health insurance schemes in both challenging and hostile environments.

Passionate about healthcare and customer outcomes, Kristian is excited to grow the division and cement Ascend Health as a trusted industry leader in their field.

Ollie Miller

Healthcare Account Executive

Oliver@ascendhealth.co.uk | Office: 01245 929129

Ollie has recently moved from our commercial team to Ascend Health.

Before joining Ascend in October 2020, Ollie gained 3 years’ experience at Insure & Go Travel Insurance and Choice Underwriting, in underwriting and customer development. However, he is wanting to broaden his knowledge in the healthcare sector, ensuring he gives the best possible service.

Ollie is a keen sportsman and is our token Manchester United fan!

Jo Fowler

Finance Manager

Jo.fowler@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449 060 OPT 3

Jo Fowler is a seasoned finance manager with a diverse career spanning over two decades, predominantly in the insurance broking industry. Her journey began at industry giant, Marsh & McLennan, and she went on to work with Equity Insurance Brokers, Equity Red Star, Hastings Insurance, IAG UK and now Ascend Broking Group. 

Jo Fowler is a devoted mother to four boys and partner to Colin, a specialist communications engineer. She offers crucial support to her neurodiverse children, who face Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia challenges. Jo is a dedicated Family Champion with the Essex Family Forum, aiding other families in similar situations. In her leisure time, she’s an enthusiastic runner and gym-goer, valuing both physical fitness and her role as a loving mother and advocate. ,


Ethan Jones

IBA Accounts

Ethan.jones@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449 060 OPT 3

Ethan joined Ascend in February 2023 and came into the Accounts team new to the world of insurance.. He has fitted straight in, working well with both the broking and sales teams.

Ethan is currently aiming to achieve his AAT qualification to help progress further in the Insurance industry.

During his spare time, Ethan enjoys playing football and going to the gym – which helps with the stress of being an Everton fan.

Freddy Crowe

SME Account Executive

Freddy.crowe@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449066

Freddy joined Ascend in October 2022 and has fitted in well with the sales and marketing team, generating local leads. Freddy is currently completing his Cert CII and progressing through his Babington’s apprenticeship.

In his spare time, Freddy enjoys catching up on the latest boxsets and going out with his friends.

Ethan Robinson

Assistant Claims Handler

Ethan.robinson@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449060

Ethan joined Ascend in September 2023 as one of our newest intakes of apprentices in the Ascend Academy. He has settled into our claims team, mastering motor claims, before delving into further fields such as liability and property. 

In his spare time, Ethan enjoys doing parkour and going out with his friends.


Freddie Hockey

Accounts Assistant

Freddie.hockey@ascendbroking.co.uk | Office: 01245 449060

Freddie joined Ascend in September 2023, joining the finance team as an apprentice, and is currently training for his AAT qualification through First Intuition.

Freddie is a keen sportsman who supports Tottenham and plays football for Chelmsford City 1st team. He also likes to play golf and to see his friends.