Sussex-based insurance brokers Bennett Christmas was named one of the best businesses in the county on Friday – less than 24 hours ahead of announcing a major new acquisition for its broker division.
The Business Matters Award recognised the firm’s transformation over the past six years from traditional local broker to a dynamic, forward looking company with a clear vision to become the leading provider of insurance services in the South East.
The following day Bennett Christmas announced it had struck a deal with Southwater Insurance Services, acquiring another £1.2m in gross written premium (GWP) and extending its regional footprint.
“The insurance industry as a whole, and regional brokerages in particular, are under unprecedented pressure as competition increases from online sales channels, rapid technological change forces a reassessment of the nature of risk, and internet-based start-ups disrupt the market and challenge the traditional business model,” said chief executive Mark Bennett.
“Far from being left behind, we’ve remained focused, driven and determined to maintain our history of exceptional personal service levels while investing in young people. It’s a strategy that has enabled us to achieve very attractive growth and propelled our relatively small company on to a national stage.”
Bennett Christmas which is based in Burgess Hill, grew its business by nearly a fifth last year, driven by strategic acquisitions and strong performance in its underwriting arm, BC Underwriting set up in 2012 to service wholesale risks with premiums below £10,000.
The award also recognised the firm’s role in the community.
“Clients buy into us as people and professionals, who are strongly rooted in the local community we serve,” said Mark. “Staff join us because we have a reputation for treating people fairly and because we invest in our workforce and encourage them to grow professionally and have fun. Happy, committed staff = happy, loyal customers. It’s that simple.”