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    Insurance Transformation

    British Gas

    The British Gas Insurance team has been on an incredible 12-month journey to create a new insurance broking business - building capability from scratch, engaging the wider business and adopting new working methodologies. This has been the first step towards their ambition to become a leading UK home insurance distribution player (>500k customers in 5 years) and transforming how customers protect their homes. And all from a starting point, only 12 months ago, of a business who simply referred all potential customers to a 3rd party home insurer. This initiative is a key component of Centrica’s strategy to enhance the services offered and to create ‘peace of mind’ for customers.

    What objectives did you set out to achieve?

    We’re currently laying the foundations. The objective for the past 12 months has been to launch a compelling insurance value proposition into market, built on a new broker platform, and offering low costs for our customers. That has meant providing quality home insurance as a broker (a new business model, replacing the previous referral approach on a 5* defaqto product), rewarding loyalty for existing British Gas customers, and driving customer volumes to lay a platform for future innovation.

    What was your single biggest challenge in achieving them?

    We needed to create the speed and efficiency of a venture team, while leveraging the scale and efficiency of the wider business. Early on we made the decision to integrate with the British Gas technology architecture. Driving that level of change in such a short period created the biggest challenge. In order to go live, everything needed to be in place. That meant integrating a third party broker platform, a BG controlled gross pricing model, SAP customer database, front end UX, a payments system, the print platform and a number of new distribution channels like comparison sites – amongst others. At the same time we were fighting to prove the commercial case to the wider business, and bring them on the journey with us.

    What did you do differently to overcome that challenge?

    We took a single-minded approach – creating a co-located team in a ‘war room’ environment. We applied a strict agile process to development, and then used the same methodology to engage the wider business. As an example, all contributors and team members, across British Gas, were involved in daily stand ups. This way of working challenged existing working practices, and built tremendous momentum around delivery.

    What were your most impactful outcomes?

    The new insurance proposition (based on the broker platform) went live in August, swiftly followed by a loyalty programme for our existing customers. We’re now live on price comparison websites and other introducer such as cashback sites. From a product perspective, we’re providing insurance add-ons directly through British Gas. Trading figures are looking good - the new business is already matching the customer acquisition volumes from the previous referral business, and profitability being stronger.

    And we’re only getting started… the future roadmap includes integration across the wider British Gas business (including Hive and Services - Homecare), a new insurance panel of a few carefully selected insurer partners, and leveraging our knowledge of customers to provide more targeted offers, more integrated propositions, at a lower cost, to more customers.

    In a sentence, what was the biggest learning you took away from this?

    Delivering significant change in a large organisation makes being an intrapreneur harder than being an entrepreneur… as well as learning that you will never have too few good ideas to implement.

    To find out more about British Gas Insurance Transformation, click here.