Our history

Our history

We've come a long way since we sold our first motor insurance policy back in 2008. From launching our first TV advert to becoming an award-winning employer, we’ve got a lot to shout about! Here are some of the highlights...

  • 2008

    2008

    - First Central Group Limited was established in Guernsey in April by co-founders Ken Acott, Mike Leonard, Patrick Tilley and Peter Creed.  

    - Skyfire Insurance Company Limited was established in Gibraltar to underwrite car insurance policies and take advantage of price comparison websites. It sold its first policy in October through its intermediary, and generated 100,000 daily quotes in its first year.

    - First Central Insurance Management Limited (better known as 1ST CENTRAL) formed, acting as the administration and service centre for policies after they had been sold to UK motorists.
  • 2009 - 2012

    2009 - 2012

    - 157,000 car insurance policies were sold in 2009, writing £50m of premiums.

    - We implemented industry-leading counter fraud technology to help us offer more affordable car insurance.

    - In February 2010, 1,000 new policies were sold in one day for the very first time.

    - 1ST CENTRAL Finance began providing financing plans directly to customers.

    - Across the group we reached the milestone of 500 employees.

    - 1ST CENTRAL was awarded Employer of the Year at the Southern Business Awards.
  • 2013 - 2014

    2013 - 2014

    - Skyfire Property Holdings PPC Limited was established to help facilitate group investment in property.

    - We completed the development of our own operating system to future proof the group and complement the fast-paced technical environment in which we work.

    - In April 2013 we sold our one millionth policy.

    - The 1ST CENTRAL brand became a top 10 volume seller on aggregator sites.

    - Our motor product was enhanced to meet changing customer needs and received a 4 Star rating from Defaqto.

    - We launched our first TV advert. 

    - 1ST CENTRAL Law Limited was established to provide a better service to customers to ensure they receive comprehensive legal advice in the event of an accident.

    - 1ST CENTRAL was awarded Employer of the Year at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, as well as two honours at the Insurance Fraud Awards for Counter Fraud Initiative of the Year and Young Fraud Investigator of the Year.
  • 2015 - 2017

    2015 - 2017

    - First Central Group was named Guernsey Employer of the Year at the 2015 Guernsey Awards for Achievement.

    - We sold our two millionth motor insurance policy in 2015, shortly followed by our three millionth policy in October 2017.

    - 1ST CENTRAL’s motor product was enhanced further and received a 5 Star rating from Defaqto.  Furthermore, we became a member of the Institute of Customer Service to enhance our performance and help provide an effortless experience to our motor insurance customers.

    - We introduced two new products – 1ST CENTRAL Plus and 1ST CENTRAL Premier.

    - 2017 was a record-breaking year and we increased the number of policies in force by over 20%, along with continued improvements in customer satisfaction scores.

    - We were named Motor Insurance Provider of the Year at the 2017 MoneyAge Awards.
  • 2018 - 2020

    2018 - 2020

    - We celebrated a big birthday: 10 years of trading.

    - We made significant developments to our own operating system and it now manages customer claims, resulting in a much more cohesive approach to our customer claims journey.
     
    - We were headline sponsors of the Be the Change programme, an inspirational initiative aimed at year 9 students in the Crawley and Gatwick area, who may have become disengaged with school or lack confidence in their own abilities.
     
    - Michael Lee joined the business as Group CEO, while Jo McGowan and Zuzana Clark were promoted as HR Director and Operations Director respectively.
     
    - Extended our sponsorship agreements with Sussex Cricket for a further three years and and Foundation 92, Salford City FC’s community programme, for a further two years.
     
    - Launched a new platform for the Youth Commission designed to transform the lives of young people in Guernsey and Alderney.
     
    - Our broker brand, 1ST CENTRAL, took home the bronze award in the category of UK National Operational Excellence Team of the Year at the 2019 National Contact Centre Awards.
     
    - Six of our leadership team took part in DIScoverABILITY Day, Sussex Cricket Foundation’s annual disability inclusion event.
     
    - We announced new partnerships with the RAC as our new breakdown provider and Coplus as our Legal Expenses and key cover provider.

    - Our broker brand, 1ST CENTRAL, was named Insurance Provider of the Year at both the 2019 and 2020 MoneyAge awards, for the third and fourth year running.

    -  We continued to grow, and by the end of 2020, we employed around 800 people across our locations in Guernsey, Gibraltar, West Sussex and Manchester. 

    - We celebrated another milestone with our broker brand, 1ST CENTRAL, as we reached three quarters of a million customers who we've helped with their car insurance.

    - That's not the only thing we celebrated at 1ST CENTRAL, as we launched a number of new products and features. These included our new Multicar product and the updating of our customer portal, Your Account.
  • 2021 - 2023

    2021 - 2023

    - We celebrated our 15th birthday with a big party for our colleagues.

    - We continued to grow, and by the end of 2023, we employed 1,272 people across our locations in Guernsey, Gibraltar, West Sussex and Manchester. 

    - Women in senior roles at First Central grew from 23% in 2020 to 38% by end of 2023.

    - Our customer number grew too, as we reached a milestone of 1.25 million customers towards the end of 2023.

    - We redesigned and relaunched a fantastic new customer-facing website for 1st Central, making customer user experiences more accessible and straightforward.

    - We enhanced Your Account, ensuring the online portal is the best and easiest way for customers to manage and make changes to their policy.

    - When it comes to customer accessibility, we also upped our game in the Claims and Customer Service space. Customers can now log and track their claims online, while a new Web Chat and WhatsApp service has enhanced accessibility in our customer communications space.

    - 1st Central was named Insurance Provider of the Year at the 2021 and 2022 MoneyAge Awards, making it six years in a row that we won the award.

    - The UK's Best Places to Work recognised First Central in a number of categories. In 2023, we officially ranked 7th among the 46 Super Large organisations on the UK's Best Workplaces™ for Wellbeing list, as well as 9th among the 55 Super Large organisations on the UK's Best Workplaces™ for Women list. 

    - In 2023, we launched ‘Our Bold Claim’; a fresh way of really defining what working at First Central is all about. This new employer brand makes us stand out from our competitors and really highlights the amazing culture at First Central. 

    - Our employer brand wasn't the only brand that saw an update. As part of the rebranding of 1st Central, we were delighted to launch our new logo in April 2023. Our new logo received excellent consumer feedback. Key themes focused on its design being professional and modern while creating feelings of a trustworthy and reassuring provider.  

    - Across 2022 and 2023, we also were delighted to launch a number of new products for our customers and prospective customers. These included our Telematics product, 1st Central Connect, and the launch of our Online Products.