News: Strong Growth for BCU

Posted on 29th June 2016

Bennett Christmas reports strong 12-month growth


Bennett Christmas Group grew its business by nearly a fifth last year, driven by strategic acquisitions and strong performance in its underwriting arm, BC Underwriting (BCU).


The company, whose broking and underwriting teams are both headquartered in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, reported a 19.4 per cent increase in Gross Written Premium (GWP) across the Group, adding 7.7 per cent to its total policy count.


BCU achieved a 51 per cent increase in business as it concentrated on developing two key insurance areas – professional indemnity (PI) (up 51.6 per cent) and property owners (up 27.8 per cent).  The division, which was created in 2012 to satisfy a gap in underwriting provision for mid-sized brokers, is now responsible for generating more than a third of Bennett Christmas Group’s GWP.


Roger Christmas, Group Financial Director, said: The carefully targeted acquisition and the widening of our in-house underwriting authorities to strengthen our offering in PI and property over the past 12 months has enabled BCU to move away from the competitive care and waste management sectors, which gives us a strong base for future expansion.


“We are pleased to report that more than 90 per cent of clients who came to us through third-party acquisitions have chosen to renew with Bennett Christmas. This re-affirms that our selection criteria for acquisitions complements our existing operation.


“Our key investment over the past 12 months has been in staff, which has grown by 13 per cent across all departments. In addition, we have completed a corporate rebrand which has given the Group a stronger, consistent visual identity.


“The marketplace for regional insurance brokers has changed and will continue to change as the implications of the Insurance Act start to bite. By recruiting forward-thinking staff and investing time and effort in young people, by training them to the necessary industry standards to assist in their career development, our insurance broking business will be able to adapt to these and any other changes.”


Looking forward, the company would continue to pursue opportunities to acquire other well-suited brokerages with GWP of between £2m and £6m.


“However, I believe that is likely to become more challenging, as larger, well-funded operators expand their acquisition activities. Our growth will also be complemented by the recruitment of experienced staff, who buy into the ethos of our business and are committed to developing it,” said Mr Christmas.

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"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"

Bruce Millington, Manager
(Sutton Winson Ltd)

"The BHBPA is the most effective and dynamic business organisation I have ever worked with in over 30 years in Local Government. It has a very active and large membership whose points of view are taken seriously by all government structures. Peter Liddell does an excellent job in providing unique and enjoyable networking opportunities where members interact and discuss points of mutual interest. It provides a forum for businesses to discuss common issues, to share experiences and to play a powerful and meaningful role in the Burgess Hill community. The BHBPA provides important and credible support for all its members and ensures that their best interests are represented where necessary. "

Steve Cridland, CEO
(Burgess Hill Town Council)

"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."

Steve Mooney
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