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30 years of QBE minibus insurance

By Jason Cowlishaw
Senior Motor Underwriter

In 1989 MinibusPlus was launched in Stafford, offering specialist minibus insurance for schools, colleges and universities.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. Stock Aitken Waterman were dominating the pop charts. Sky began the UK’s first satellite TV service. And moviegoers were wondering ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’.  1989 is also the year that MinibusPlus, as it was known, was launched in Stafford, offering specialist minibus insurance for schools, colleges and universities.

Throughout the ‘90s, support from insurance brokers expanded the market nationally across more schools, charities, care homes, religious groups, sports clubs, private hire operators and all the other sectors we now service. I joined the business in 1995, so have first-hand experience of seeing the business expand over all these years.

In 2005, QBE acquired what is now regarded as the UK’s largest provider of minibus insurance. QBE’s investment into the Stafford operation has helped to grow the business and provide stability for customers.

30 years after its launch, the business is still firmly rooted in Stafford, providing insurance to UK businesses. The Minibus team has a combined 159 years of minibus insurance experience and have insured hundreds of thousands of minibuses over the last three decades. Our motto is that ‘we will consider any minibus and any driver’. Sectors such as charities, nursing homes and schools make up much of our business, though we do also insure quite a few out of the ordinary risks, for example mobile gyms and specially-adapted vehicles.


The insurance industry has seen a lot of changes in 30 years, however minibus insurance remains quite a niche area, which calls for specialist knowledge. QBE is constantly innovating, most notably around the use of technology. For example, QBE has pioneered the use of e-trade and is currently the first and only insurer to make minibus insurance available to brokers on e-trade, with quotes available on Acturis and QBE FastFlow.

Online quotes, instant policy documents and live chat have made things easier for our broker partners and for customers. Now it’s about continuous improvement of our systems and processes to make them as slick and quick as possible, combined with outstanding customer service and policy coverage.

A big part of our success is staying ahead of the issues that could affect our partners and keeping them informed, whether that’s the need for Green Cards post Brexit or the impact of UK motor reforms. Working with QBE’s risk solutions experts and selected partners, such as driver training and camera solutions providers helps to mitigate risk, reduce claims and improve road safety. And publications such as our Minibus Operator Handbook help our customers to ensure they’re operating safely and within the law. 

The future

What does the next 30 years hold for minibus insurance? I think we’re going to see a lot more emphasis on technology and the environment, in line with how the motor industry is evolving. With more investment in the public transport network, electric and greener eco-friendly vehicles. And with advances in driverless vehicle technology, will we be insuring driverless minibuses? Who knows, but we’re certainly in for an exciting ride.

Take a look back over the last 30 years of QBE minibus insurance 

Find out more about QBE insurance for SMEs 

Your contact

Your contact

Jason Cowlishaw

Jason Cowlishaw

Senior Underwriter - Commercial Lines

Tel: +44 (1785) 785353