PETERBOROUGH-based insurance company BGL Group has reported a strong performance in a challenging market, with the announcement of its financial results for the year July 2009 to June 2010. And a lot of that growth is down to a meerkat called Aleksandr (left).
Thanks to growth within the group’s price comparison site, comparethemarket.com, strong cost control and supplier management, the group delivered a profit of £62 million, up 16 per cent on the previous year.
Peter Winslow, BGL Group chief executive, said, “During the year our margins came under significant pressure, and with customers still driven to control spending, our challenge was to closely manage pricing and find new ways to drive value. We continue to invest heavily in the future growth of the group.”
The group’s financial results for 2009/10 are compared below against the preceding year:
|Pre tax profit||£62 million||£54 million|
|Profit growth||16 per cent||24 per cent|
|No of customers||3.5 million||2.7 million|
Highlights of the BGL financial year:
- comparethemarket.com drove significant income for the group, outperforming its plans and experiencing 70 per cent growth against a market growth rate of 20 per cent. The ‘meerkat’ marketing campaign continued to play an important role in this success with new initiatives – including a ‘movie-trailer’ advertising approach, an iPhone application and an Aleksandr soft toy – keeping the campaign fresh with consumers. Commercially, comparethemarket.com further developed its established motor and home insurance business and also introduced several new product lines including life insurance, mortgages and pet insurance. These initiatives have led to an improving income per visitor trend.
- Further growth of Junction, with the pinnacle of its achievements a multi-million pound contract with a major banking group to launch a motor insurance scheme in January 2011. Junction also secured a five year contract with Santander to deliver a new online home insurance product, plus add-ons including legal expenses and home emergency cover. In addition, Junction acquired Bradford & Bingley’s home and motor insurance business and a ten-year brand licence. Existing partner portfolios were expanded for brands including Post Office, M&S Money and Auto Trader. Junction has an impressive track record in retaining contracts and growing business. Its extensive portfolio of well known, trusted brands includes RAC, HSBC, Co-operative Insurance Services, More Th>n and yesinsurance.co.uk.
- BGL has invested more than £30 million in leading-edge technology for its strategic customer service programme. This replaces legacy systems and will ultimately power all BGL’s customer service activity and sales processes across multiple channels. The system will deliver greater customer MI as well as process efficiency which will ultimately benefit our insurer partners.
- As part of a focus on customer retention, Bennetts, the motorcycle insurance brand, launched ‘Bennetts Exclusives’, which provides discounts for biking gear including clothing and tyres, money off Silverstone tickets and short breaks, and access to money-can’t-buy events. Customer retention rose by over 18 per cent year on year and is now at record levels.
- A new knowledge management system was implemented across Fusion, BGL’s contact centre business. It enables contact centre advisors to keep up to date with the product, brand and regulatory information. Fusion established a ‘universal advisor’ approach, multi-skilling its people so that customers need not be transferred to different departments, giving them faster access to the services.
- A new Personal Accident Cover add-on for customers. This provides them with valuable peace of mind and another reason to stay with their BGL brand. Initial sales surpassed expectations and it continues to be a popular addition to customer policies.
- BGL more than doubled the amount donated to good causes, from £150,000 in 2008/2009 to over £350,000.
Peter Winslow said, “Customer retention has also been a major focus for us, with satisfied customers three times more likely to renew. To support this, the year saw improvements to online customer journeys and documentation, and steps to ensure exceptional telephone service from our contact centre advisors. Our success has also extended beyond our financial achievements and, with the support and dedication of our employees, we are pleased to have donated a record amount to good causes during the year.”