At a time when many insurance companies were spurning high-risk drivers, the wise heads behind BDML spotted a lucrative opportunity. In 2002 when Norwich Union was keen to offload Sabre, an underwriting subsidiary that dealt with high-risk-driver policies, they swooped and bought it in a £13.5m deal. The price was a bargain – Sabre’s assets were valued at £23.5m at the time – and now the company is enjoying the spoils.
BDML was founded in 1998 when Angus Ball, Sandy Dunn and Keith Morris led a management buyout of Rossborough Insurance, part of GAN Group. It now has three other divisions besides Sabre.
BDML Connect sells and administers car, home and travel insurance policies for leading brands such as RAC, Norwich Union and Halifax. It also sells through its own brands, MasterQuote and Insuremythings.com.
Ultimate Insurance Solutions, launched in 2000, provides motor and pet-claims handling services. Thornside, founded the following year, trades as Petwise and sells pet healthcare policies to customers that include Argos and Homebase.
The group says it has considerably outperformed the market over the past 12 months, thanks to astute premium-setting by Sabre. The management team has continued to negotiate the same terms with all the underwriters on its panel. This enables BDML to send out the same policy document irrespective of the underwriter, creating significant savings on administration.
BDML’s profits have surged 159% a year from £778,000 in 2000 to £13.6m in 2003.
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