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First Central Group bolsters leadership team as it eyes accelerated UK growth

First Central Group bolsters leadership team as it eyes accelerated UK growth
We're delighted to announce our new management structure, as well as a series of senior hires. The news comes as we seek to capitalise on our rapid success in the insurance market during the last 10 years.

Simon Walker, previously Chief Operating Officer, has been named First Central Group's Chief Executive Officer. He will oversee the evolution of the group to drive continued growth, in addition to exploring strategic partnerships and collaborations designed to respond to the rapidly changing needs of customers and the industry.

Mike Leonard, Chairman and Co-founder, First Central Group, commented: “Since joining our team at the beginning of last year, Simon has already made a significant impact at First Central Group and his promotion to Chief Executive Officer is in recognition of his excellent contribution to the business. I’m confident that with our two further senior hires we have a formidable team in place, who will lead the business to our next phase of growth in a constantly evolving insurance market.”

John Kennedy has joined as the group’s Chief Financial Officer bringing with him considerable experience having held senior finance positions at Aviva, RAC and Towergate. John will be responsible for ensuring the business has the financial resources to deliver against its growth aspirations.

Jonathan Guy who joins from Co-op Insurance Services (CIS) has been appointed as the Chief Claims Officer and will take responsibility for delivering the business’ future digital customer claims strategy. Jonathan will provide leadership on the processes and governance for the groups claims indemnity spend and reserving.

The announcement comes at a significant time for the business. First Central Group’s UK insurance broker 1ST CENTRAL is a consistent top 10 supplier in the UK motor aggregator market and has experienced rapid growth over the past ten years, recognised in the recent Sussex Super Growth awards with a 391% growth over the last three years. It has successfully built a customer base of around 450,000 and experienced a record milestone last year in the writing of its three millionth policy. Simultaneously, First Central Group’s underwriter, Skyfire Insurance, has witnessed significantly increased premium income, with 13% growth in 2016 and 18% growth in 2017. In addition, we continue to advance our own technology platform, spanning a full range of insurance processes. Our technology is designed for big data from both a production and consumption perspective, which is a major contributor in the fight against fraud.

Simon, John and Jonathan will work closely with the rest of the First Central Group leadership team, consisting of Andy James (Chief Commercial Officer and UK CEO of 1ST CENTRAL), John Davison (Chief Information Officer), Stuart MacIntyre (Chief Underwriting Officer and Managing Director of Skyfire Insurance).

Simon Walker, Chief Executive Officer, First Central Group, commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business. The traditional UK motor insurance sector continues to undergo seismic change, presenting both challenges and opportunities for our business. We already have a fantastic track record of delivering market-leading products and services at the right prices, and our size enables us to be agile and respond to the rapidly changing market. This, coupled with the highly experienced leadership team, will ensure we can continue to deliver the products and services that we know meet the expectations of our customers. We’re very much looking forward to the road ahead.”

John Kennedy, CFO, First Central Group, added: “First Central Group successfully operates at an intersection of insurance and technology, and I’m delighted to be joining such a forward-thinking and innovative company. I’m looking forward to harnessing the skills of the team to be at the forefront of new markets, new technologies and to build on its success to date for the benefit of consumers.”  

Jonathan Guy, Chief Claims Officer, First Central Group, commented: “I’m delighted to be a part of the First Central Group’s  success story and to get the opportunity to take it to the next level by simplifying the customer claims process, instilling trust back in to the industry and further empowering our valued customers, who sit at the heart of our business success.”


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