The former Fast Track 100 No 1, Drive Assist, appears on the league table for the third year running with sales growth of 76% a year, from £12.5m in 1997 to £68m in 2000, when it had 262 staff. Founded in 1992 by the current chairman, Steve Binch, Drive Assist provides free rental cars to the victims of road accidents and recoups the cost from the guilty party’s insurer. The victim of the accident pays nothing. The Staffordshire company began life leasing cars because it was held back by poor cashflow. Today it rents out 1,200 cars a month through its network of dealerships in the Midlands. A key factor behind its continued growth has been the signing of a protocol agreement with British insurers that makes recouping payment for the rental cars easier. This has speeded up the time taken to process claims and has also increased awareness of Drive Assist among insurance brokers and car repairers, which recommend the company to their customers.
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