Voted the “best big company to work for” in the Sunday Times annual list, and having reported a record profit in 2018, Welsh insurer Admiral is having a pretty good year.
The company recorded a group profit of £479.3 million before tax, up 18% on 2017, from £405.4 million. And it’s not just the company’s CEO and board who will be happy - employees will be celebrating too, after the company announced it will be awarding 10,000 staff £3,600 in shares following the huge profits.
Geraint Jones, CFO of Admiral, said that the employee share scheme is one of the many elements the business has in place to allow staff to feel ownership over their positions and their company.
“We’re quite strong believers in making our staff act like owners of the company,” he explained. “And the best way we can think of to achieve that is to give them a part of the company to own.”
The share scheme has been in place since 2004, when the company was first listed. The basic principal is that if staff are shareholders in the company they are working for, they will think like shareholders and always be working their hardest for what is best for the company.
Now the company awards a percentage of the firm per year to staff, with the amount varying depending on the annual results.
“We give away basically 1% of the company per year - our board has given us authority to issue 1% of new shares each year,” Jones said.
“We distribute them very widely, everyone in the company gets a certain amount. And then there’s a separate scheme as well that is awarded usually to managers or star performers. But I think 3,500 people out of 10,000 got that scheme as well.
“It’s quite a good retention tool because when you get awarded shares you’ve got to wait three years before you can do anything with them. It encourages loyalty.”
The scheme is one of many reasons why Admiral was voted number one is the Sunday Times list of best companies to work for, something Jones and the entire team at Admiral are immensely proud of.
“We’re really very proud of that,” he said. “We’ve been entering that Sunday Times best company to work for competition since it launched and we’ve been on the list every year.
“This is the first time though we’ve come first, so we’re very happy with it. It’s a good reflection, we think, of the culture we try and create for our staff.
“The really important thing is that the results of that competition is based on responses from staff, done anonymously. In our view it’s a good reflection on how staff feel about their employer so we’re particularly proud of that.”
For the future, Jones said, Admiral would like to continue growing at the same speed, but he did not want to make any guarantees about if that would happen.
“Certainly we work hard to try and make sure we can keep on growing turnover and profits in the future,” he explained. “We were happy with our 2018 results, it was a year of good growth across our group.
“The profit was up 18% but quite a big chunk of that was actually because of a partial unwind in the change in the Ogden discount rate which first happened a couple of years ago. So that contributed £66 million to the profit increase.
“If you take that out our profits are up a bit more modestly, but still up to record levels. So a pretty pleasing set of results. On the back of the good results, a strong capital position is indeed - we made a record dividend as well so good for shareholders and our staff.”