Managing director of Close Brothers Premium Finance, Seán Kemple, outlines the history of the provider.
We are now in the information age, where computers, data and AI are rapidly taking over from industrialisation as the driving force of progress.
To illustrate the power of information in our lives, Google gets over 3.5bn searches each day. WhatsApp users exchange 65bn messages daily. 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone.
These are staggering figures, and underline how change is seemingly slow, but once a tipping point is reached, it accelerates very quickly indeed.
Close Brothers Premium Finance (CBPF) celebrates its 45th birthday in 2022, and it is also the case that change within our business and among the brokers we work with has been exponentially rapid, especially in recent years.
Close Brothers merchant bank, of which the CBPF is part, has its origins in 1878, however, the premium finance business was launched a century later in 1977 and since then has grown to provide finance for many brokers in the UK.
The premium finance division started after a discussion with an insurance broker who was based next door to the company.
The broker asked whether Close Brothers could come up with an instalment service to help his client pay their premiums. From this discussion we created a straightforward finance product that changed the industry.
While some insurers already had a standing order system for paying by instalments, the CBPF product allowed brokers to put multiple policies through one credit agreement. This reduced form-filling for the broker, while allowing them to benefit from the insurer’s credit terms.
Today, we work with over 1,600 commercial and personal lines brokers across their 2,000+ offices to help well over three million businesses and customers across the UK and Ireland.
The 1970s were the beginning of the information age and data analytics and a digital journey are now essential tools in the brokers’ armoury, but few brokers can afford the capital investment, and that is something premium finance providers such as CBPF can help with.
Personal lines brokers have largely evolved into data analytics businesses, where the customer journey has largely migrated to the digital world.
Premium finance has itself developed since 1977 to become an ever more important element supporting the financial performance of a brokerage, especially in personal lines.
But two factors have been at our core since we started out in 1977.
The purpose of premium finance, to help make insurance affordable by spreading the cost over time, remains fundamental to our business, especially now, as people and businesses wrestle with economic volatility caused by the pace of change.
Secondly, our heritage makes us strong. The natural cycle of business means people move on, and relationships need to be built and rebuilt as new people join the team.
CBPF is bringing that new team into place, but we remain custodians of a business that has been solidly there for brokers for the past 45 years. We believe CBPF being part of a bank adds another layer of security and stability to what we do.
That experience cannot be bought and it gives me, as MD of CBPF, a sense of confidence as well as responsibility in my role, that we’ll be working for our brokers, our mutual customers and for our colleagues, driving CBPF forward to our 50 year anniversary in 2027.
This article was taken from Insurance Age.