Admiral Group PLC

Origins

Admiral first launched in January 1993. Two of the people who set up and launched the company are still heading up the company. Their main motivation was that they wanted to control their own destiny and start a successful business. They could see there was a major move in the insurance market from traditional brokers to direct insurers. They could also see that some of the early direct insurers weren’t catering for large parts of the market such as younger motorists and those living in cities. There were numerous challenges in those early days. Firstly, Admiral was unheard of when it launched. Nobody knew who Admiral was, so they needed to gain recognition and trust quickly. Secondly, a lack of money, if the company didn’t succeed quickly and make money it couldn’t prosper. Finally, the business lacked the information vital to do insurance. In order to price premiums accurately, statistics and claims data are vital and, as a new insurance company it didn’t yet have this information

Success Factor

First is a tight control of expense. As a business, the Admiral Group is extremely cost efficient. It doesn’t have expensive offices, doesn’t waste money and accounts for every pound it spends. And this attitude is common throughout everyone who works for Admiral. Its expense ratio is one of the lowest in the insurance sector and combined with the loss ratio (the amount we pay out in claims) is the best of any major UK insurer. Secondly, the culture. Admiral believes that its culture is unique, there are four cornerstones to it: Equality – we have a very flat structure, most managers work on the floor, there are no company cars, everyone has the same chair; Reward and recognition – as well as the share scheme which recognises the contribution all staff make to the company’s success, Admiral likes to celebrate achievement and long service of its staff; communication – Admiral puts a lot of emphasis in providing information through as many channels as possible and always make it two-way; Fun – everyone at Admiral likes to have fun, both in work and outside work and the firm’s philosophy is that people who enjoy what they do, do it better. Finally, Admiral focuses on what it knows and would rather be experts in one field rather than spread itself thinly selling different products and providing different services. It knows car insurance and is very good at it.

The Future

As a listed company, the Admiral Group is limited with regards to what it can say about its future plans as that information is market sensitive. However, it plans continued, ongoing recruitment at all three UK sites building on the 4,200 already employed in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. This growth also means Admiral needs new office space and central to this is the planned new Cardiff HQ in Bridge Street which will house up to 3,000 people in one space and will be extremely environmentally friendly and state of the art. Admiral has also announced that we it looking at moving into home insurance and plans to continue the growth of its international brands, especially as its overseas operations are still relatively small but growing.