General Insurance Article - BGL Group moves for Dutch aggregator


 The BGL Group has today announced the acquisition of a leading Dutch insurance price comparison company, www.Verzekeringssite.nl.

 This latest addition to the BGL portfolio further boosts the company's European footprint and follows the group's acquisition of the French aggregator, Courtanet, in November 2010.

 Verzekeringssite.nl was founded in 1999 by chief executive Erik Hordijk, after he had difficulty finding comparable prices for his car insurance. Officially launched in June 2000, the company offers independent price comparison services online. With over 2.5 million visitors each year, customers save on average around E200 per year. Based in Haarlem, just outside Amsterdam, the business currently employs 21 members of staff.

 Peter Winslow, chief executive of the BGL Group, said "The Netherlands has a strong economy, a well-developed eCommerce market and a long tradition of price comparison, so we see this as a positive growth opportunity for us. Direct distribution of both car and health insurance is increasing, and so more and more Dutch consumers are making purchase decisions by starting their journey on aggregators. An independent aggregator can add real value to consumers and insurers alike.

 "The Netherlands' car insurance market is around a quarter of the size of the UK market and we believe Verzekeringssite.nl has the potential to develop consumer use of price comparison in car, health and other sectors. We are looking forward to working closely with Erik and his team to deliver an exciting growth plan to increase market share."

 Hordijk added "There is already a healthy appetite from Dutch consumers for independent price comparison with over 50% of them using it to research their car insurance. However, as only 10% actually go on to purchase, there is still substantial room for growth. We are delighted to join the BGL Group. With its proven expertise delivered through comparethemarket.com in the UK and Courtanet in France, our customers, partners and the business will all benefit significantly."

 Verzekeringssite.nl will continue to operate as a standalone business, under the governance of the BGL Group Board. Hordijk will retain a minority shareholding in the business and report to BGL Group director, Kal Atwal.

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