As one of the biggest employers in the South East, Hastings Direct is a successful, national brand located in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea. This issue of Sussex Business Times marks their 20th anniversary
Celebrating 20 years since the first policy was sold, Hastings Direct has much to be proud of over the past two decades; from being listed on the London Stock Exchange to raising over £1,000,000 for charitable causes, the general insurance provider looks forward to continued success for many years to come.
Today Hastings Group employs over 2,700 colleagues across its five sites in Bexhill, Leicester, Newmarket, London and Gibraltar. The head office at Conquest House in Bexhill encompasses many different business areas including Claims, Underwriting and Retail as well as HR, Digital & Marketing and Finance. However, when Hastings Direct first opened its doors only a handful of people were employed occupying just the first two floors of Conquest House.
Samantha Turner joined Hastings Direct over 20 years ago and was one of the company’s first Sales Agents. Throughout the years, Sam’s career has progressed across many different departments including Sales, Customer Service, Complaints and Claims. She has been a Quality Assessor for the past six years.
“When I joined Hastings Direct I was part of the first team to take calls and I remember how nervous we all were waiting in anticipation for the first live call to come in! I have lot of fond memories over the years – not only has Hastings Direct given me a great career and friends but it is also where I met my husband and was able to take two maternity leaves to have our daughters. One of my daughters recently completed her work experience at Hastings Direct.”
Today, many colleagues live locally in the Bexhill, Hastings and Eastbourne area; however colleagues also travel daily from Essex, London and Kent to work for the successful company. Others have moved back to the Bexhill area and have found the flexibility that Hastings Direct can offer means they can achieve the perfect work/life balance.
Natalie Sadlier, PR Manager, recently moved back to the coast with her young family after a successful career at ITV in London. “I grew up in Bexhill and when I moved back to the town two years ago, Hastings Direct not only gave me the chance to continue my career in Public Relations, but I was also able to fulfil the job during hours that fitted around my children and school times – something I am unsure any other local employer could offer.”
Dee Flower joined Hastings Direct eight years ago after a ten year career in recruitment in London. “Before joining Hastings Direct I had never worked in a contact centre, but found that I loved it! My career at Hastings Direct has been varied – I moved from the contact centre to the Quality department, then to Retail as an Academy Team Leader. I now work within Recruitment to help the team to bring the best people into the contact centre as well as supporting and coaching Team Leaders with their interview skills.”
Putting colleagues at the centre of what they do, Hastings Direct demonstrates a commitment to its colleagues with year round recognition schemes, annual awards evenings, long service rewards and Christmas parties. Hastings Direct also offers great career options and development opportunities.
Jon Hermon joined the company in 2001 for a short term summer job as a Sales Agent before going to university; however Jon’s summer turned into a long term career at Hastings Direct and 16 years later, Jon is the company’s Financial Controller. “I’m really proud of the way my career has grown at Hastings Direct and the support I have received. Five years after joining, I qualified as an accountant and had the opportunity to be involved in many of the large corporate transactions over the years, including setting up Advantage Insurance (part of the Hastings Insurance Group). I was also involved in the management buyout in 2009 and various debt and equity transactions since then.”
Supporting charities and the local community is at the heart of life at Hastings Direct and a key part of the company’s culture. Over the years Hastings Direct has given over £1,000,000 in community support, donated to over 200 charitable causes, including national charities such as Children in Need and Comic Relief as well as offering support to many local charities and good causes. The company also supports local education through regular employability workshops and their education programme ‘Be the Change’ – which sees Hastings Direct colleagues become mentors to year 9 students at Bexhill Academy.
Marking their 20 year anniversary serves to highlight the key role Hastings Direct continues to play in the local and wider community. From offering a wide variety of job and career roles and flexible shift opportunities, to supporting local charities with fundraising and practical help, through to working closely with local school and colleges to provide guidance and advice for their students’ futures, Hastings Direct looks forward to the next 20 years of successes and achievements.
Hastings Direct has many exciting career opportunities and roles. To find out more and to hear about the latest open days, visit www.hastings-careers.com.