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Our History


The BGL Group began operating in the UK in 1992. Its founder Douw Steyn's objective was to repeat the success of the South African motor insurance company, Auto & General. Budget was a pioneer in motor insurance, selling monthly and later annual policies, and creating the first paperless insurance environment. Starting with just seven executives and no existing customer base in the UK, Budget Insurance Company grew within four years to enjoy an annualised premium of £54 million.

The original UK organisation, Budget Insurance Company Limited, sold household and car insurance, underwriting its own risks.

In December 1997 a change in Group strategy saw the Budget Group cease underwriting and become an insurance intermediary, marketing policies underwritten by a panel of insurers. This strategic move led to immediate profit growth.

October 2001 saw Budget acquire Coventry based Dial Direct, a major UK car and motorcycle insurance intermediary, selling primarily under the brands of Dial Direct and Bennetts. The following August, Budget set up its affinity business, Junction, with major high street brand partners such as Post Office and M&S Money.

ACM, the accident claims management arm of the group was launched in 2000.

In 2006 the Group created a new price comparison website, comparethemarket.com.

Its Fusion operation provides contact centre services across three different sites in the UK.

2013

Seven employees from BGL Group are awarded with Charted Management status by the Chartered Management Institute.

BGL Group announces management changes as two new appointments are made. David Downie is appointed Group Director of Legal Services and Peter Thompson is promoted to Group Director of Intermediated Businesses.

BGL Group enhances customer offering with e-Underwriting, allowing the calculation of 'on screen' prices without telephone referral.

Peter Winslow becomes Executive Chairman and Matthew Donaldson is appointed as Chief Executive Officer.

Life insurance "finally catching up and putting customers first", says Beagle Street Managing Director, Matthew Gledhill.

BGL Group employees give their time to support local young people with The Prince's Trust programme in Peterborough.

Junction appoints new Corporate Partnerships Director.

BGL Group completes major head office refurbishment.

Bennetts expands offering with classic bike insurance online.

Minster Law is granted an ABS licence, paving way for BGL to acquire the law firm.

BGL Group Dragon Boat event raises over £100,000 for children's charity, Plan UK.

11 BGL Group employees travelled to Guatemala with Plan UK to meet children living in poverty.

650 employees receive annual "know your numbers" health checks.

BGL Group's successful marketing scheme welcomes its second intake, as six new graduates join the Group.

Record number of employees enjoy annual Family Fun Days in Peterborough and Sunderland.

Bennetts reports that consumer engagement and policy sales are hitting new heights.

Fusion Coventry announces new Head of Site.

BGL Group appoints Seamus Keating as a Non-Executive Director.

11 young adults secure permanent jobs at Fusion Sunderland, following the successful completion of the Fusion Apprenticeship programme.

BGL Group signs new agreement with National Accident Helpline.

BGL Group sets £160,000 fundraising target to build a school in Zambia, in partnership with Build It International.

Bennetts share it's social media success at the annual Finance@Google conference, following the innovative launch of Bike Social.

BGL Group is named one of the largest mid-market private companies in Britain by the Sunday Times Top Track 250.

Stuart Walters is appointed Chief Information Officer.

BGL Group donates £70,000 to good causes across Peterborough.

BGL Group unveils plans to expand into the Commercial Vehicle insurance market.

Minster Law expands with a new London office.

BGL Group launches a new motor insurance brand, Auto & General.

Olympic Gold Medallist, Katherine Grainger, opens a new onsite gym for Peterborough employees.

The BGL Group reports profits of £88m for the financial year ending 30 June 2013.

2012

BGL Group rebrands its French price comparison business as www.LesFurets.com

BGL Group acquires leading Dutch insurance price comparison company, www.Verzekeringssite.nl

Over 1,200 employees from BGL Group, attended the company's eleventh Annual Awards Ball, with a show-stopping 'Masquerade' theme. The event also marked the company's 20th anniversary

Recruitment drive to develop new marketing talent results in appointing five new graduates into the business.

Chief Executive of BGL Group, Peter Winslow, is awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The award, given for 'Services to Financial Services,' celebrates Peter's leadership of Peterborough-based BGL Group for the past 15 years.

23 employees from the BGL Group successfully completed a demanding charity trek along the Great Wall of China, raising more than £100,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care

The BGL Group announces the appointment of Mark Townsend as Managing Director of Frontline, its business unit responsible for BGL brands including Budget and Dial Direct.

Thirteen young apprentices from Fusion Sunderland successfully completed NVQ qualification in Contact Centre Operations and secure permanent roles.

Junction celebrates its ten year anniversary and identifies affinity market shift

The BGL Group appoints David Downie to a new Board-level position, 'Group Director of Intermediated Businesses'.

BGL Group launches multi-million pound anti-fraud capability. New anti-fraud 'point of quote' solution validates customer data across all channels including, for the first time, aggregation.

Fusion invests £1 million in major technology expansion. As part of the upgrade, Fusion will implement advanced voice self-service and speech recognition technology to allow customers to provide key personal details before talking to an advisor.

Fusion, the Sunderland based insurance contact centre, continues to show support for its local community by donating a further £20,000 to Highfield Community Primary School.

BGL Group links up with UK universities to promote the insurance industry

BGL Group raises £1 million for good causes and achieves its three year fundraising goal three months ahead of plan

Budget Insurance is awarded a 'People's Choice' Award at the Institute of Customer Service's 2012 awards event.

Bennetts launches campaign to lobby the government into including bike-related questions in the UK driving test

BGL Group launches recruitment drive for its new IT apprenticeship scheme. The programme will offer three candidates the opportunity to work towards a recognised IT qualification, whilst gaining valuable on the job skills.

BGL Group launches new life insurance brand 'Beagle Street' to modernise the way people buy life insurance, making it cheaper, simpler and more accessible.

BGL achieve an employee engagement result of 76 per cent, exceeding both the 73 per cent target set in back in 2009 and the Global Financial Services industry benchmark of 68 per cent.

BGL Group announces new CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy with an overall theme of 'Poverty Reduction', and a new strategic goal to donate £3m to good causes by June 2017

Bennetts becomes UK's first brand to build a social network for target audience Bike Social. The new approach underpins Bennetts' future growth strategy and aims to bring together the entire biking community.

BGL Group reports 22 per cent profit growth

BGL Group up 18 places in Sunday Times Top Track 250 league table of largest mid-market private companies in UK

BGL group hosts Insurer Conference which reveals access to data is 'make or break' for many insurers today

The BGL Group appoints Alasdair Lenman as Deputy Chief Financial Officer; a new position within the Group

BGL Group launches new anti-Fraud initiatives for Van Insurance

Fusion Sunderland celebrates 10 years

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2011

BGL Group donates £52,000 to WWF-UK to help save the Tiger

ibuyeco donates £250,000 to the Woodland Trust

Junction achieves record customer satisfaction levels - a survey of 2,500 customers across partner brands highlighted the number of customers saying that they were 'extremely satisfied' or 'very satisfied' reached a total of 73 per cent

Fusion Coventry drives additional growth with 100 more new jobs

Bennetts drives 72 per cent sales uplift with the launch of a new quote journey

Fusion Coventry supports local school with £8,000 donation. Funds will help build a new business and technology centre

BGL receives planning permission to expand Peterborough head office with two new buildings

Local children train with England Rugby stars at Twickenham as part of the BGL Super Skills Rugby challenge

Unique life insurance product launched in conjunction with Ageas Protect

BGL Group announces the appointments of Kal Atwal and Martin Overton to the Board following a restructure that establishes four operating groups as the company gears up for the next phase of its growth

BGL Group publishes financial results for the year July 2010 to June 2011, reporting pre-tax profits of £72 million – a year on year growth of 16 per cent

BGL Group expands its Board with the appointment new Non-Executive Director, Debbie Hewitt, former CEO of the RAC

Further growth for Fusion Coventry means 80 new jobs

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2010

BGL Group donates £6000 to support victims of burglary via the Cambridgeshire Bobby scheme

BGL Trekkers complete gruelling South African charity challenge raising £104K for the NSPCC

BGL Group donates £6,000 to St Theresa's, a homeless shelter in Peterborough

Junction acquires the Bradford & Bingley motor and home insurance business

BGL Group made a lifetime patron of the NSPCC, as a result of raising 200K for the charity over two years

comparethemarket.com launches the third part of Aleksandr Orlov's family trilogy

BGL Group rises 17 places in a league table of Britain's 250 Largest Mid-Market Private Companies, the Sunday Times Top Track 250

Fusion gears up for growth with 240 new jobs across its three UK sites

BGL Group wins 'Large Employer of the Year' and 'Contribution to the Community' at the Peterborough Business Awards

BGL Group moves into French market with acquisition of French price comparison sites business, Courtanet

BGL Group supports Samaritans with £15,000 donation

Fusion Coventry named 'Large Employer of Choice' at Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council Awards

Fusion Sunderland supports local school with £20K donation – funds will help the school operate its 2011 music programme

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2009

Comparethemarket.com launches its revolutionary new advertising campaign starring Aleksandr meerkat, founder of comparethemeerkat.com.

BGL pledges to ease financial pressures on small businesses by promptly paying invoices within 14 days.

Comparethemarket.com launches a new motorbike insurance comparison service and adds 12 new motor insurance and seven new home brands to its site.

BGL Group pledges £66,000 to the Great Fen Project, funding the running of the Ramsey Heights Countryside Classroom for the next three years.

Junction enters into a new five-year motor insurance partnership with RAC, extends its Joint Business Framework partnership with AutoTrader.co.uk for a further five years and signs a new five-year deal with the Post Office® to provide home and motor insurance.

BGL staff raise over £15,000 for corporate charity NSPCC by completing the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge.

BGL consolidates in North East Fusion contact centre operations

Junction celebrates 100 per cent growth over two years with more than 1.5 million customers across its motor and home insurance brands.

Aleksandr meerkat celebrates as the comparethemarket.com ad campaign wins the Marketing Initiative of the Year Award at the British Insurance Awards.

BGL Group leaps 78 places to 97th in the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 250 league table – higher than Center Parcs, Harvey Nichols and Man Utd!

Fusion in the North East wins the Community Award at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards and are runners up in the Employer of the Year category.

BGL Group reports a strong performance in a challenging market with a £54 million profit.

BGL wins the Contribution to the Community Award and Fusion wins the Workforce Development category at the prestigious Peterborough Evening Telegraph Business Awards.

ibuyeco underlines its environmental credentials with donations of over £166,000 to eco causes The Woodland Trust, Orangutan Survival and The Converging World.

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2008

Junction signs Auto Trader as new joint business partner.

The Group's employees select the NSPCC as the corporate charity for 2008/09 via a company-wide vote.

More Th>n selects Junction for a five-year partnership.

The BGL Group installs an industry standard underwriting and rating engine, Polaris ProductWriter.

BGL Group is shortlisted as 'Business of the Year' and 'Employer of the Year' at the National Business Awards Regional Finals.

Fusion Contact Centre sites provide financial support to local athletes to aid them with their bid to compete in the Beijing Olympics.

Junction announces a new partnership with MORE TH>N.

Junction secures a five year contract with HSBC to provide its motor insurance.

ibuyeco wins 'Personal Lines Initiative of the Year' at the UK Broker Awards 2008.

BGL released its financial results for July 2007 to June 2008 and reported a 43 per cent profit growth to £43 million. This is its 11 year of record profit growth in personal lines.

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2007

BGL Group delivers record profits of £43 million, a year-on-year growth of 93 per cent, and hits 2 million policies.

The BGL Group changes its name from the Budget Group of Companies.

The Group is selected as 'one to watch' in the Sunday Times' PricewaterhouseCoopers' Profit Track 100 rankings report, and appears within the Sunday Times list of the top 250 largest mid-market companies.

BGL Group also wins the Peterborough Evening Telegraph Business of the Year award in the 'large' category.

comparethemarket.com re-branded and re-launched with £20 million marketing investment. New partnerships announced with the Motley Fool and Knowyourmoney.co.uk.

ibuyeco – eco-friendly product allowing customers to 100% offset their CO2 emissions launched with print and TV advertising – www.ibuyeco.com.

Junction hits 1 million policies.

AutoTrader appoints Junction as provider of its own brand car insurance product. Co-operative Insurance Services also becomes a Junction partner.

Junction announces new five-year partnerships with both the Post Office and Marks and Spencer.

Bennetts hits 200,000 policies.

A new Fusion contact centre is opened in Peterlee to accommodate increases in volume across the BGL Group brands and those of our partners. In addition the Coventry site relocates to a new office with more space and better facilities.

The Cape Town contact centre moves into state-of-the-art new offices with capacity for 800 seats.

Bennetts launched a massive motorcycle safety campaign - 'Rev For a Reason'.

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2006

comparethemarket.com – insurance price comparison website launched.

Leading websites - AutoTrader, moneysavingexpert.com, pricerunner, simplyswitch and MORE TH>N - all establish partnerships with comparethemarket.com.

Budget Van Insurance is launched, backed by a high profile marketing campaign – "It's a van man thing!", which wins Insurance Times' Marketing Campaign of the Year.

comparethemarket.com wins the Insurance Times' New Entrant of the Year Award.

Budget Group wins Insurance Age's UK Broker of the Year Award.

Budget sells its high street broking business to Swinton.

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2005

Budget celebrates reaching one million policies.

Junction wins contract for yesinsurance.co.uk.

Debenhams home insurance is added to the Junction portfolio.

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2004

Police Mutual appoints Junction as provider for its car insurance.

Bradford & Bingley appoints Junction to manage its car insurance product.

Post Office Financial Services appoints Junction as its car insurance provider. This is followed three months later by the launch of a home insurance product also provided by Junction.

Fusion opens 200 seat contact centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

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2003

Junction launches its first contract with National Australia Banking Group, which includes Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Northern Bank, managing its home and motor insurance products.

Marks & Spencer signs Junction as its provider for car insurance.

Homebase appoints Junction as its provider for its home insurance offering.

Travel and life insurance products are launched under the BUDGET consumer brand.

Budget's claims arm, ACM, was restructured to administer Uninsured Loss Recovery.

BUDGET launches a motor quote facility on the website, shortly followed by home insurance on-line quotations.

Bradford & Bingley awards Junction the contract for home insurance.

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2002

Budget forms its affinity business, Junction, offering outsourcing insurance sales and services to major high street brands and financial services brands.

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2001

Budget acquires the insurance intermediary group, Dial Direct, based in Coventry, which included the brands - Dial (motor insurance), and Bennetts (motorcycle insurance). This acquisition increases Budget's customer base by over 270,000.

Motor Finance and Personal Accident insurance are added to the secondary product range.

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2000

The Advanced Claims Management (ACM) department launches to manage claims on behalf of Budget's panel of insurers.

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1999

The BUDGET home insurance product is launched.

Budget acquires high street brokerage, Arnott Century, which increased the size of the customer file by 220,000 overnight. The shops were then re-branded as Budget Insurance Services.

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1997

The company ceases trading as an insurance underwriter and reforms as Budget Insurance Service, an insurance broker, underwritten by a panel of leading UK insurers. It also begins selling annual policies, which brings it in line with the UK market.

The Budget website – http://www.budgetinsurance.com/ – launches.

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1992

Five executives of Auto and General form Budget Insurance Company in the UK, trading as an underwriter of motor insurance and issuing monthly policies, which, at the time, was unique to the UK market.

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1985

Douw forms his own insurance company in South Africa, Auto and General, issuing motor and home contents insurance. It is the first company to pioneer paperless insurance, using voice-recording systems during the sales process.

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1974

Douw Steyn, Budget's founder and chairman, begins trading as Steyn Brokers in South Africa.