Brendan McCafferty says crisis has shown how Brightside staff can be trusted 

Brightside chief executive Brendan McCafferty says his staff were ‘absolute hereos’ as they dealt with the immense fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.

”Our staff were absolute heroes the way they responded to customers. Our staff were behaving as counsellors just as much as insurance advisers and brokers. They were listening, sympathising and showing great empathy, asking how to help the particular client they were dealing with,” McCafferty said. 

He also said the crisis has also shown how Brightside’s staff can be trusted, something he never doubted.

”It has transformed our culture. It has proved things I always believed.

”You can trust your stuff. It’s about enabling people to be successful. The shift has demonstrated that to us.

”I’m really proud of what the business has done. It has been great accelerator, and put us in a very good spot for what need to be done in the efuture.

Speaking to Insurance Times, McCafferty revealed how Brightside first closed its offices a week before the lockdown measures were brought into place by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It meant staff were working from home by the middle of February, instead of usually taking communications from a call centre.

”That was a huge undertaking. That was challenging, but I’ve got a great team and that was done.”

Next up, the broking group had to ‘dial down’ new business. This freed up space to deal with the flood of enquiries from worried policyholders across taxis, van and specialist motor.

Brightside was also having to deal with customers concerned about their renewals amid the covid panic.

But now that the initial ‘bow faded away’, Brightside is now returning to business as usual.

”We are getting back to normal and we are recovering any lost ground quite quickly. Our businesses are clear that we are following a strategy we have followed before.

”The economy is in a wretched state. We will see the economic aftermath hurt every insurance business and broker in due course, everyone needs to be prepared for that and we will be.”

McCafferty said the crisis has not been wasted, and it has helped focus on the ‘One Brightside’ message.

”We have talked about one Brightside.

”Brightside has in the past been a wide variation of businesses managed separately, but now we have brought them together.

”Our people benefit from that massively. We restructured our business, and we do not run it by location. Having a virtual organisation has only strengthened us, and we can move volume around with new capabilities. 

Looking to the future, McCafferty said it is now about keeping the momentum up. 

’We had 130,000 policies in our broking business a year ago. Now we are just a tiny fraction under 200,000. 

”That tells you about the momentum in our business, and the future value that it will create,” he said. “We are ready to take advantage of the new capabilities. We have invested hugely in data, pricing and analytics capabilities.”