Reflecting on 2018
January 9, 2019
It’s been a significant year for First Central in so many ways.
Growing as a business
We’ve continued to see year-on-year double-digit policy growth and have built a customer base of almost half a million, supported by continuous development of our digital assets.
This helped inform our decision to create a new brand – First Central Insurance & Technology Group – which represents our commitment to investment in technology and innovation, high quality insurance, underwriting, finance and legal services.
The launch of our new brand identity followed the unveiling of ‘Focus Claims’, a new claims management solution, which provides our customers with faster and more precise claims settlements, delivered through a conversational user interface.
Our investment in technology and commitment to digital transformation has meant that we not only abide by the latest legislative changes, but that we ensure our high-quality customer service is maintained at all times.
Our resilience was tested in May when we experienced a fire and then a flood at our office in West Sussex, but our response as a business was exceptional. Everyone pulled together as one team to minimise the impact and supported each other through a difficult period. Most importantly, our customers weren’t affected.
In October we celebrated our 10th anniversary with a number of events and activities for our employees to get involved in, as well as a campaign to recognise 10 of our most loyal customers.
We continue to give to the communities where we work, supporting charities and local community initiatives. Together we’ve raised over £100k, which is an amazing achievement. This will remain a key focus over the coming year.
Investing in our people
Our people are, without doubt, our biggest asset and 2018 saw us launch a number of initiatives to invest in their development and wellbeing. These included a new leadership training programme and an apprenticeship scheme.
Our annual wellbeing week saw our people enjoy massages at their desks, as well as the opportunity to take part in sleep seminars and yoga sessions.
We also launched a new benefit that gave employees an extra day off each year to celebrate their birthday. Not only that but as part of our 10-year celebrations, we introduced a scheme to recognise our long-serving team members.
We’re proud to have won four awards this year.
We were named the ‘Fastest Growing Company in Sussex’ at the Sussex Super Growth Awards, and we were awarded ‘Large Business of the Year’ at the Southern Business Awards.
Our broker brand, 1ST CENTRAL, picked up the award for ‘Excellence in Technology – broker’, and was named ‘Insurance Provider of the Year’ at the MoneyAge Awards.
We were also finalists in five other awards and were ‘Highly commended’ in the category of ‘Fraud Intelligence Team of the Year’ at the Insurance Fraud Awards.
We continued to support the communities where we work by getting involved in a number of local initiatives. As part of this support, our employees committed over 580 hours towards volunteering this year, with activities including decorating, gardening, dog walking and beach cleaning.
For the second year running, we welcomed three post-16 students to the team in Guernsey, as part of the Discover Digital internship programme. They were all passionate about working in the digital sector, and this initiative further strengthens our commitment to developing digital skills.
We also launched a new partnership with The Digital Greenhouse in Guernsey, to offer 14 to 21 year olds free access to a Digital Innovators Programme. The aim is to increase the number of young people on the island with advanced digital skills.
In April, we were honoured to sign a 2-year sponsorship deal with Foundation '92, which was set up by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville. The charity is part of Salford City FC and its ambition is to help communities in Greater Manchester lead more active, healthier and happier lives by tackling pressing issues such as disability, mental health and homelessness.
1ST CENTRAL remained sponsors of the County Ground in Hove, where Sussex Cricket play their home matches, and we gave our ongoing support to the Sussex Cricket Foundation, which aims to change the lives of young people in the local community through cricket by delivering accessible and enjoyable opportunities that tackle inequalities, improve health and wellbeing and enable people to fulfil their potential.
To further cement our passion for nurturing young talent, we also continued to sponsor Guernsey-born racing driver, Sebastian Priaulx, as he set his sights on success in the ultra-competitive F4 British Championship.
And in Gibraltar, we continued our sponsorship of the Gibraltar Rugby Football Union (GRFU) schools programme, which saw over 1,000 children get involved with the sport throughout the year.
2018 was certainly a challenging yet rewarding year and we look forward to seeing what 2019 has in store.