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Digital distributor BGL Group makes £3m investment in Sunderland tech hub

BGL Group to create 40 digital jobs at Sunderland base

BGL Group, a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services, is to invest £3m in a new tech hub at its base in Sunderland, it announced today. The investment has been welcomed by MAKE it Sunderland at Sunderland City Council, which has advised and supported BGL on this project from the outset.

The hub will create a new base for the development and growth of BGL’s digital insurance products, creating job opportunities for 40 agile delivery professionals, software engineers, software quality engineers and business analysts in the initial phase of the project. Recruitment is already underway for the first 20 people to be in place by June, with further investment and recruitment planned for later in 2019.

Sunderland has become a tech hot spot in recent years, with Tech Nation citing it as one of the best places in the UK to launch and grow a digital tech business and some 7,100 digital tech roles already based in and around the city.

Recognising the digital and engineering skills on offer in Sunderland and keen to work with the City Council, BGL chose to place its newest tech hub in the city, following on from the success of its London hub, which opened in 2017 and features a customer research lab, as well as playing host to around 100 tech colleagues.

BGL plans to attract the best technical talent to its base at St Catherine’s Court, Sunderland, by providing a refitted office environment which will allow the new tech teams to work collaboratively with its existing teams in Sunderland and Peterborough. 

BGL already employs close to 700 people in Sunderland for its portfolio of motor and home insurance products, both in partnership with several of the best-known brands in UK financial services and through own brands Budget Insurance and Dial Direct.

Technology is at the heart of BGL’s digital insurance products and it has invested significantly in developing its technology platform in recent years. BGL tech teams use Agile working practices and collaborative tools combined with the latest and established digital technology to power its insurance platform. 

Steven Woodford, Chief Technology Officer, Insurance, Distribution and Outsourcing, said: “BGL has a long track record of investing in Sunderland via our award-winning contact centre, which has been a key local employer for many years.

“We’re very excited now to be expanding that investment into securing new talent with the digital and software engineering skills which will help us drive the future of our business.  

”We looked at a number of locations before choosing Sunderland, but were keen to tap into – and become part of – the city’s growing tech community.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader, Sunderland City Council, said: “This is great news for Sunderland and for its thriving digital and knowledge economies. It’s a further vote of confidence in the city from BGL which already employs many hundreds of people in Sunderland. This new investment in a tech hub will create highly skilled technology jobs to boost the city’s software and digital strengths.

“We have had a close relationship with BGL for many years and we are delighted they have chosen to invest again and create new opportunities in our city. “