First Central Group was planning an ambitious growth drive – but they knew their existing risk and compliance systems weren’t sophisticated enough to support them on that journey. The auto insurer needed to drive company-wide engagement with risk culture, allowing everyone within the business to own and view their risks.
FCG partnered with Protecht to build a platform that’s tailored to their unique risk needs and grows with their business, supporting their successful expansion.
“FCG has more than doubled in size over the last three years. Protecht has been a really important tool in allowing us to go on that journey.”
Ben Lowing, Risk & Compliance Director, First Central Group
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First Central Group is a fast-growing retail motor insurance company with around 1.3 million customers in the UK through brands including 1st Central and Skyfire, with about 1200 employees across four sites within the UK, Guernsey and Gibraltar.
FCG has gone through a very significant maturation of its framework and culture as an organisation over the last few years, increasing in size by four times over the last six years. A much more sophisticated risk management model was an absolute requirement for them to achieve this growth safely.
Before using Protecht, FCG used an alternative GRC system. They found it to be limited in scope, with unhelpful reporting capabilities and a lack of configurability to support their specific needs, with limited vendor assistance. They were using it mainly as a data repository and doing all of their risk analysis in multiple spreadsheets – which introduced a great deal of manual work and the corresponding risk of error.
How Protecht helped
“The Risk in Motion representations were a really powerful way of showing what was going on in our business in a way that really, really helped us understand what the product could do and how it would help us.”
Ben Lowing, Risk & Compliance Director
FCG found that Protecht's dashboard scorecards were a powerful way of understanding their business.
When deciding to change vendors, FCG’s set of considerations was numerous. While cost and compliance were important as always, their primary consideration was that we were planning to engage in a significant growth phase. They needed to be absolutely certain that their risk management tools would manage that growth safely.
During the prospecting stage, FCG was impressed by Protecht’s ability to create live representations of their existing data and registers.
FCG found the implementation process with Protecht relatively straightforward compared with other regtech solutions: it was clear what the steps were, what the gates were, and what the success criteria was. In addition to risk management, Protecht ERM’s compliance management features were also useful:
“We wanted to look at how we could have improved governance around our corporate policies, how we could track actions off the back of compliance monitoring reviews and link those back through to the risk that was defined”, says Steph Collins, Head of Compliance.
Integrated risk management
“We have the information from all areas stored in one place and it all relates back to the same taxonomy, to ensure that everything is being seen together and that it all aligns to what we want.”
Kirstie Chatfield, Group Risk Manager, First Central Group
The integrated nature of Protect helped FCG mature its risk in a number of different ways. For example, if there is an incident and something goes wrong, the team can understand what control fail documents that, and then also inform its risk reviews, providing a virtuous circle. People are able to highlight where there are issues and what needs to be done about it in a timely fashion.
Protecht has enabled FCG to take manual processes that were previously very manual and make them into a more streamlined and efficient process. The group can now have customised PDF reports created automatically on a schedule – allowing the risk team time to provide insights rather than the manual manipulation of data.
Another key benefit of integrated risk management, beyond having the data available extremely easily and quickly, is to have only one version of the truth with no room for error.
“When we were using spreadsheets for a lot of our tracking previously, the likelihood of error was high. Now we know exactly what's going on and it’s transparent for everyone”, says Ben Lowing.
Shifting from risk administration to risk advisory
“We're seeing more varied and valuable conversations around risk culture, and how all of this links together from our teams’ perspective.”
Parisa Macauley, Risk & Compliance Governance Manager, First Central Group
Protecht has driven significant improvements on the conversations around risk within the FCG business. When FCG has its monthly pillar governance meetings, the dashboards and registers from the Protecht system now directly feed into the slide decks for those meetings.
The attestation processes within Protecht have received really strong feedback from stakeholders. They feed into the group’s core processes and governance framework, providing clarity on what people are accountable for.
FCG’s second line risk team are saving around five days a month on data entry by using Protecht for automated reporting in comparison to the manual spreadsheets they were using for analysis under the previous system.
FCG's second line risk team are saving around five days a month by using Protecht for automated reporting.
“That's what the business want from us as a second line function: everything to just be clear and simple for them to understand so that we can concentrate on providing them with the advisory and support that they need”, says Steph Collins.
First line simplicity and engagement
“It's all under one roof, which is really simple and easy, and also it's intuitive to use.”
Holly Llewellyn, Learning and Digital Content Manager
Protecht has enabled a much better working relationship between first line and second line support – partly in terms of having everything in one place and meeting deadlines, but also in more broadly enhancing the working relationship between the multiple teams.
First line managers found that the onboarding process for Protect was seamless, in terms of using the online training videos to get their teams on board and able to use the system proactively and quickly.
The use of Protecht has transformed first line teams’ relationship and engagement with risk – it’s now something that people engage with throughout the business, across multiple units, making full use of the system’s capacities across multiple roles. For example, FCG’s first line information security teams are significant users of Protecht, and the platform was a key tool in their successful achievement of ISO 27001 certification last year.
The My Tasks functionality within Protecht has been particularly helpful for driving response rates from within the business. Rather than risk and compliance departments having to chase replies by email, it is all automated: first line users can see exactly what they need to do by just logging into protect and that dashboard is there for them.
The My Tasks functionality has been particularly helpful for driving responses from first line users.
Analytics self-serve model
“It’s a live system with live information that that every user can access and update controls and risks, and it's all there to see immediately.”
Dan Graham, Group Risk Officer, First Central Group
Protecht’s analytics capacities have massively simplified FCG’s board and audit committee reporting. By automating their processes, they have become able to show clear, detailed trends from their reporting hence improve the message that goes out to boards and committees. Rather than providing data that doesn’t give a message, they are able to have meaningful communications.
This has been enabled and enhanced by the building of FCG’s actions dashboard. This is an addition to the existing actions register, which contains all of our actions broken down by different types of actions, and links all of them to individual risks. The actions dashboard – built with the help of Protecht – takes this register and provides very specific reporting that has been demanded by board members and executive members.
Protecht allows stakeholders within FCG to see what is going on in someone's span of control clearly over time – whether things are getting better or worse and why. This has been hugely beneficial in driving conversations with risk owners and understanding their environment.
Strategic partner supporting FCG’s roadmap
“Protecht understand where we're coming from and where we're going in a way which has been helpful for both parties.”
Ben Lowing, Risk & Compliance Director
The Protecht partnership has been a great tool in enhancing FCG’s risk culture, driving a cultural shift from reliance on the second line team to make decisions around risk, towards allowing first line managers and teams who are making business decisions to manage their own risks. The ease of use of the system and dashboards has meant that throughout the business, people can access reporting and insights – both to understand their personal responsibilities and to have a view of their department’s risk profile.
As FCG has matured its risk profile, Protecht has supported the business on its journey. The flexibility of the product has allowed FCG to build out new functionality over time and continue to enhance their risk framework, adding in new and improved dashboards and analytics – rather than being stuck with the initial build that they specified at the start of the process or being reliant on expensive variations.
FCG has also benefited from Protecht’s training and support with creating analytics products and allowing the team to understand how dashboards are built, both conceptually and in practice.
Protecht's training materials have allowed the FCG team to understand best practice in building dashboards.
“Protecht is an extremely flexible product. It can be used for anything that you need and is extremely easy to use”, says Parisa Macauley.
“My advice for any business looking to digitise their risk and compliance management systems would certainly be to use Protecht.”
Dan Graham, Group Risk Officer
With FCG more than doubling in size over the last three years, Protecht has been an important tool in allowing them to go on that journey.
The key take-outs from this journey have been:
- Protecht’s single source of truth ensures that reporting is consistent and accurate
- By showing how actions link to risks, how actions are closed on time, and break that down by departments and roles, Protecht has benefited the business’s risk culture
- The Protecht platform has driven engagement throughout the business
- The internal perception of compliance has changed from a bureaucratic, box-ticking function to a value-building part of the business
- The flexibility of the platform has allowed FCG to easily develop its systems as its risk maturity has grown
- Protecht’s people have been supportive of FCG on its risk journey, with a real commitment to driving usage of the platform and ensuring it is adding value to the business.
“The single biggest reason that I would recommend Protecht is because of Protecht’s people. It's very clear that they want us to enjoy using their product and they want the business to love it”, says Kirstie Chatfield.
About First Central Group
First Central Insurance & Technology Group (First Central Group) is a fast-growing UK insurer and innovator in data, delivering market-leading motor insurance, underwriting, distribution, finance, technology and legal services. First Central Group are committed to restoring and maintaining trust in the industry through technology and data to reduce risk, tackle fraud and deliver products for the future using their in-house capabilities, people and commitment to innovation.