Three years after its launch in March 2003, Bright Grey has grown from a company of six to one with over 400 employees, and it plans to keep growing year on year while retaining its autonomous, team-orientated culture.
Roger Edwards, products director at Bright Grey, has been with the firm since its inception and he believes part of the reason the company has been successful is because it aims to be a life assurance provider which is more than just about giving people money when things go wrong.
As part of this aim, the firm has a helpline for consumers who need advice and provides nurses for those who require medical help at home.
“The profession is very price-orientated, but we believes there is more to this market than price and it is worth an extra 50p a month,” says Edwards.
He suggests another reason for the provider’s growth in terms of employee numbers is its work culture, which is very open and he believes aims to make people feel empowered.
Bright Grey has employed an open plan office and a casual dress policy since its inception, and on starting the company everyone is encouraged to design a collage about their lives, which is hung on the office walls.
In addition, a “Jump Start” meeting is held each mornng, in which all of the firm’s employees read the same information focusing on one of its key drivers, such as sales or strategy, to make them think about what is important to the business.
As a result of these elements, Edwards says he sees Bright Grey as the place to achieve his own ambition of filling the protection gap, and a place where he will stay for the foreseeable future.
“Going forward, there are huge opportunities for companies to develop products to fill the protection gap. Bright Grey has the opportunity to do a lot and take things forward and I want to be a part of that.”
He believes the rest of the original management team, who set up the provider after leaving Scottish Provident, will also be staying because it has been “a team effort putting the firm together and there is no sign things are different on the horizon”.
Similarly, although the provider is a division of Royal London, Edwards says it will continue to act as a very separate, autonomous company with its own executive team.
Future developments for the firm include improving its services, such as the online application it launched this year, because, as Edwards admits, the firm has taken longer to develop them than other parts of the business.
He acknowledges Bright Grey will not change any of its products in the short-term but is set to launch a version of pension term assurance (PTA) in May, which is a product Edwards feels the market should embrace.
He adds: “The market should embrace it as an opportunity to attract new customers and not a product to sell to current customers. Growing the market is something we put in our overall strategy, as well as changing the way consumers view protection.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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