The man behind the meerkat says branding and marketing would be key to the venture’s success

The BGL Group could start broking life insurance this year, chief executive Peter Winslow said. In an exclusive interview with Insurance Times, Winslow said regulatory changes in the life arena made it “an interesting opportunity”. He said the group, which owns leading aggregator Compare The Market (CTM), had not decided whether to sell life insurance through its existing brands, or new ones. It currently offers a small number of life policies on CTM, but through a third-party partner.

Winslow said: “It’s early days, but we’re looking at the life sector – that’s something that interests us. We know that market is going to change hugely.”

He referred to the Retail Distribution Review, now out to consultation, which is set to change the way independent financial advisers (IFAs) are paid, from a commission- to a fee-based system.

He said: “That’s going to change the dynamics. A lot of IFAs will go out of business, so I think there’s an opportunity for us there.”

Winslow said branding and marketing would be key to success. “People don’t trust financial outcomes like they used to,” he said. “We would have to get the branding right.”

Other major UK general insurance brokers with life distribution arms include Towergate, which recently rolled its IFA business, Towergate Financial Services, into the main group following the departure of chief executive Patrick Snowball.

Meanwhile, Winslow said BGL, also home to the Junction affinity provider and motorcycle broker Bennetts, was unlikely to make any major acquisitions. “We’re very good at organic growth.”

He was sceptical of predicted consolidation among the major aggregators, saying: “What might drive consolidation, I suppose, is if over time some aggregators become unprofitable. But at the moment, I don’t see why there would be.”

Asked about potential threats to the group, he said: “I’ll be interested to see what Google does with comparison sites. If they want to do something, it will be all about your brand. You’ll have to fight Google’s brand.”

To read the full interview, click: Peter Winslow