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Reflecting on 2019

Reflecting on 2019
Can you believe 2019 is over? It was a significant 12 months for First Central. Take a look at what we got up to…
 

Growing as a company

Our new CEO, Michael Lee, joined us in March, bringing with him a wealth of experience – not only in the UK motor insurance market, but also in significantly growing and broadening a customer base.

Over the past 9 months since he joined, Michael has been working with the rest of the leadership team to develop a robust plan for the future, which has been shared with the management team and is in the process of being unveiled to colleagues across the business.

We hit a significant milestone in July – reaching our 4 millionth policy sale. Each and every employee across the group had a part to play in this accomplishment, so it was important for us to recognise that it’s only by working together with our colleagues that we can achieve this success.

In October, we were excited to attend the MoneyAge Awards in London where our motor broker, 1ST CENTRAL, was named Insurance Provider of the Year for the third year running.


Focusing on customers

This year our customer satisfaction has been at a record level, but we’ve still been working hard to further strengthen our customer offering.

We partnered with the RAC, the UK’s most experienced breakdown provider, which was a significant and exciting move to provide customers with breakdown cover from such a well-known and trusted brand.

Similarly, we launched a customer repair partnership with WNS Assistance, one of the UK’s leading providers of claims management.

We launched our fourth product, 1ST CENTRAL Legal, to further strengthen our customer offering, and we introduced Coplus as our new Legal Expenses and Key Assist provider.


Valuing our colleagues

Our people are at the heart of everything we do and it’s our priority to look after them. That’s why we enhanced our wellbeing programme, which included recruiting a number of mental health first aiders across the business. They’re currently undertaking training to be able to provide support to colleagues who may need it.

We also welcomed Manchester United legend Gary Neville to our Salford Quays office. He popped in for a chat with our people about how mental wellbeing plays a vital role in football and the work of Salford City FC’s Foundation 92, a charity we sponsor, which helps vulnerable people in the Salford community. Attendees then got the chance to ask him some questions.

We also focused on developing our talented colleagues with the launch of programmes such as bitesize learning sessions known as Upgrading Skills and Behaviours (USBs), Leadership Lounges, a new digital learning platform, and continuing to deliver our leadership development programme, which we’re delighted has been accredited by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

In October, we strengthened our leadership team, with the announcement of three new appointments. Ben Tomasetti joined as Chief Commercial Officer, we welcomed Gareth Howell as Chief Underwriting Officer, and Paul Priestley took on the role of Counter Fraud Director.

Also in October, we celebrated our 11th anniversary with our people and hosted events in each of our four locations to recognise and reward our amazing colleagues.
 

Community spirit

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 1,100 hours towards volunteering this year, with activities including decorating, gardening, dog walking and beach cleaning.

In January, we were delighted to be the headline sponsor of the Be the Change initiative, an inspirational mentoring programme designed to remove barriers and help young people fulfil their potential.

We also launched a new and exciting partnership with the Youth Commission – a charity that supports young people in Guernsey and Alderney to help them reach their full potential.

And we continued our partnership with the Digital Greenhouse in Guernsey for a second year, 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. As part of this, we welcomed three students – who were all passionate about working in the digital sector – into our organisation on an internship. This initiative further strengthens our commitment to developing digital skills. 

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.

And in November, after 2 years and 80 fundraising activities, we reached our fundraising target for the 4 fantastic charities we support - Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity, the Early Birth Association in Sussex, the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation (PPBF) in Guernsey and Baby STEPPs in Gibraltar. Together we've raised a staggering £70,000 for these fantastic organisations and it’s all down to our people.

2019 was certainly a challenging yet rewarding year and we look forward to seeing what 2020 has in store.
 

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