How motor broker Principal is growing 100% year-on-year

Company is going to add 30 new jobs and move to new headquarters as part of expansion

How motor broker Principal is growing 100% year-on-year

Insurance News

By Lucy Hook

Specialist motor insurance broker Principal Insurance is growing fast – we reported yesterday that the Manchester-based firm is expanding into new headquarters and is set to add 30 jobs in the next two years.

We spoke exclusively to the firm’s managing director, Dave Bowcock, who told us more about the rapid expansion the agency has been experiencing, despite being a relative newbie – Principal was founded by Bowcock in 2011.

“We’ve seen growth everywhere,” Bowcock told Insurance Business. “We set out to be a niche specialist, but we’re over-achieving all our targets in every single area.”

Around 80% of Principal’s business is in bikes, but after acquiring a specialist motor insurance broking business from Marsh, which is now the focus of the company’s Lancaster office, the scope of the business has widened.

The acquisition, which happened in October, has “huge growth potential”, Bowcock said, and with the diversified business, next year its “growth in all areas”.

In February, the company announced that it had broken into profit a full year ahead of plan.

It had targeted to break even for the 2014-15 financial year (ended October 31 2015), but a 120% increase in turnover to £1.5 million (£678,000) saw the company record a modest post-tax profit of £54,000 (-£51,000) and operating profits of £21,000 (-£44,000).

That impressive growth was a result of increased marketing activity and a six-month revenue contribution from the opening last April of an office in Dublin.

“We’ve grown 100% year on year, but it’s this year that we’ve really seen the renewal books maturing,” Bowcock said.

And this growth means an increase in workforce numbers too.

After recently bolstering the marketing team, Bowcock estimates that the firm will add 30 jobs in the next two years – particularly in admin, support and call-centre roles – expanding accordingly as the policy count goes up.

“But we also want some pretty heavyweight people in the back office too,” he added.

The firm’s imminent move to new offices three-times the size of its current headquarters in Sale, will allow for better facilities, such as purpose-built training spaces and break-out rooms.

“The current office space is bursting at the seams because we’ve enjoyed the rapid growth… so we’ve gone for more space than we actually need, as we want to get a nicer environment for the staff,” Bowcock said.

With all these elements put together, the firm is riding the wave of success: “We’re just enjoying that after five years of hard slog of doing lots of specialist shows, sponsorship and marketing, building the team, investing in the staff, and giving great customer service,” he said.

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