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Sentinel UK Ltd

Origins

Sentinel UK was originally established in response to the growing demand for facilities to enable non-specialist financial intermediaries such as independent financial advisors (IFA’s) to cross-sell buildings and contents insurance to their clients. The management team - an Englishman, Scotsman, Welshman, and Irishman - are Andrew Masters (Managing Director) Alex McLauchlan (Marketing Director) Simon Wilsher (IT Manager) and Andrew O’Leary (National Sales Manager).

Success Factor

Sentinel’s growth can largely be attributed to the ‘user-friendliness’ of its software, which makes it a highly time-efficient and hence cost-effective channel for financial intermediaries to sell not only Home Insurance, but also a dozen other policy types ranging from Travel Insurance to Pet Insurance. However, as the Managing Director and founder of the company Andrew Masters commented, there is more to it than that: "The strength of user satisfaction with ‘The Source’ software itself means that we do enjoy very high levels of customer referrals, but it’s fair to say that our client support facilities have become equally important, and not only technical support."

The Future

In April 2001, Sentinel went live with its online case submission system. This enabled its subscribers to submit Home Insurance and Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance applications over the Internet thus doing away with the need for client signatures and hence for the printing and posting of application forms and Direct Debit Mandates. The system was initially limited to simply automatically logging the case details into the firm’s database, but that alone was enough to result in same day turn-around being the norm for home insurance cases submitted online. This became a major advantage in Sentinel’s market - within a year of launch, over 90% of its business was being transacted online. In April 2002, exactly one year after the launch of its electronic submissions facility, it was extended to provide immediate confirmation of cover by e-mail (including the policy number and policy schedule) and the firm is currently unique in being able to offer this service to the Financial Services intermediary market. The other major development is that Sentinel have done a distribution deals with the producers of the mortgage sourcing and illustration systems used by over 60% of Mortgage Brokers. Joint marketing activities will commence in January 2003 and this stands to dramatically increase the firm’s user base over the coming year with the potential to multiply it fivefold.