Peterborough insurance giant set to grow as it grapples with digital challenge

Matthew Donaldson, chief executive of the BGL Group.
Matthew Donaldson, chief executive of the BGL Group.
  • Revenues £507m (£505m in 2013/14)
  • Insurance broking/price comparison income up 6% to £482m
  • Minster Law income down 52% to £25m
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Peterborough insurance giant the BGL Group has reported a robust set of trading figures as the company battles with new challenges.

The company, in Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, which employs 1,300 people in the city, saw total revenues rise to £507million for the year to the end of last June from £505million for a year earlier.

Aleksandr Orlov meerkat - the public face of comparethemarket.com

Aleksandr Orlov meerkat - the public face of comparethemarket.com

Group customer numbers have risen by 500,000 to more than eight million.

However, profits before tax have fallen from £82.7 million to £70.4 million.

The company says the fall is largely due to a £35 million loss in Minster Law, which it acquired three years ago. It says a change in the law on personal injury claims has seen a cut in profit margins.

Its price comparison site - comparethemarket.com - is still a success with customer numbers growing and an expansion of its products, complemented by the launch of rewards programme, Meerkat Movies.

I am confident we should continue going from strength to strength.

Matthew Donaldson, chief executive

The group has moved to strengthen the business as it continues to transform itself to benefit from a digital era.

It has set up a tech hub in London and has made a number of strategic hires including Jesper With-Fogstrup from Laterooms.com as chief operating officer of comparethemarket.com and Bora Arslan, from Walmart as customer analytics and decision science director.

Directors also say they feel the firm has attained a level of maturity where it is appropriate to explore a possible public listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Matthew Donaldson, chief executive, said: “I am confident we should continue going from strength to strength.”

“It’s been a good and busy time at BGL with customer numbers now exceeding eight million, strong revenue growth at comparethemarket.com, good growth in policies under management in our insurance broking businesses, and significant development in building our digital and data capabilities.

“The Group is well placed to leverage both our competitive advantages and long-term market trends such as the explosion in use of smartphones, rapidly becoming the device of choice for consumers, and increased consumer empowerment in financial services.

Peter Winslow, executive chairman, said: “I am delighted with the progress at both operational and strategic level which has resulted in a stronger more focused business with a sharper strategic edge.

“I am particularly pleased to welcome Dominic Platt, our new chief financial officer, to the board, to be joined in due course by three new independent non-executive directors.

“We believe that the future is bright for BGL.”

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