BGL Group, a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services, which owns brands including Compare the Market, LesFurets.com and BeagleStreet.com, announces record results for the year ending 30 June 2018. Revenue was £660.9m, up 13% on the previous year, while underlying profit before tax was up 16% to £146.9m. Customer numbers across the Group grew by 12% to 9.5m.
UK price comparison site Compare the Market saw customer numbers grow by 1m over the year, supported by its strong brand and service proposition including the successful Meerkat Movies offering. Growing numbers of customers returned to buy more than one product, while take up of products beyond the core of motor and home insurance, such as energy, phone, broadband, life, travel and pet insurance, increased significantly year on year.
In France, LesFurets.com had its strongest year to date, as it broadened its product offering into energy, current accounts, mortgages and consumer loans.
The Insurance, Distribution and Outsourcing Division continued to invest in digital technology, with a focus on improving customer journeys. The Division includes BGL Life (including Beagle Street and FiftyLife), and own personal lines brands Budget Insurance and Dial Direct, as well as providing a range of home, motor and life insurance products for UK household name brands, serving around 3m customers in total.
At Group level, the year was marked by the announcement in November 2017 that Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) had signed an agreement to invest £675m for a 30% stake in BGL; the investment was completed as planned in April 2018.
At the end of the year, it was announced that Debbie Hewitt would take on the role of Independent Non-Executive Chairman at the beginning of the 2018/19 financial year, succeeding Peter Winslow, who had held the role since 2013.
During the year the Group has continued to enhance its governance and regulatory framework with the appointment of additional independent Non-Executive Directors, increased risk and compliance capability, and made significant investment in systems and processes to ensure the on-time implementation of two major regulatory change programmes - the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).
Chief Executive Officer Matthew Donaldson commented: “By helping people compare, switch and save across an ever broader range of products in our Price Comparison Division and continuing to develop our digital customer proposition, we’ve gained additional customers this year, supporting the delivery of another record set of results in terms of profit and revenue. Our Insurance, Distribution and Outsourcing Division has had a good year, strengthening our multi-channel offering for customers in an increasingly digital marketplace, and with a step change in the growth of our Life business.
“It’s been a milestone year for the Group as a whole, marked by significant investment from CPPIB demonstrating confidence in our growth potential. By investing in our people, including through our newly launched BGL Academy, and in technology through our digital innovation agenda, we are building a strong foundation for the future of all our businesses.”
• 13% revenue growth
• 16% underlying PBT growth
• Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) takes 30% share of BGL Group – completed April 2018
• BGL Academy for apprentices and graduates launched March 2018 and on track to fill 200 roles by calendar year end
• Debbie Hewitt appointed Independent Non-Executive Chairman in July 2018, succeeding Peter Winslow
• Employee engagement at 86% (up three percentage points), continuing BGL’s position in the top 20% of fintech companies
Price Comparison highlights:
• Over 6m customers, with more customers than ever before returning to Compare the Market to buy more than one product
• LesFurets.com enters energy, current account, mortgage and consumer loans markets
• LesFurets.com named as the no.3 digital brand in France behind YouTube and Google (YouGov Buzz ranking)
Insurance, Distribution and Outsourcing (IDO) highlights:
• IDO awarded Excellence in Motor Broking at the 2017 Insurance Times awards and Personal Lines Broker of the Year at the 2018 British Insurance Awards
• BGL Life launches over 50s guaranteed life insurance brand FiftyLife
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