UNITED KINGDOM — Auto Windscreens Announces Plans to Expand Under New Ownership by Insurer Group
March 25, 2011

Auto Windscreens, which is now part of Trifords Ltd., a division of the Markerstudy Group, has now hired 250—100 at its headquarters and 150 at its 20 branches across the United Kingdom, according to a statement from the company. The company, which had been placed into administration February 14 and was rescued by an asset buy on February 28, now has plans to expand to 35 locations within the next two years.

Nigel Davies, who has been named manager of the new business, says he is aiming is to re-establish Auto Windscreens as a major national automotive glass provider.

"Our new model allows managers in our network complete autonomy, enabling them to guarantee prompt response times by managing their team of technicians and controlling all stock requirements themselves," he says.

The company says it is back to offering 24/7 service, and, as they gain new insurer contracts, they intend to respond to urgent inquiries within two hours; handle at least 97 percent of all calls within its call center; and will answer 85 percent of calls within 15 seconds.

"Our employees are instilled with the enthusiasm to provide total customer satisfaction," adds Davies. "As part of a large group, we are already benefiting from the support and communication initiatives that all other Markerstudy Group employees enjoy, such as Talent Recognition, Red Letter Day points, Company Hero, monthly magazine, and weekly updates from myself. Clear communications from group CEO Kevin Spencer are considered key in integrating the new business."

The Markerstudy Group is "a privately owned composite financial services organization that owns several insurer divisions," according to its website. In the latest statement from the newly revived company-now nearly a month into its new ownership-the company points out that there are benefits to this new partnership.

"Being part of an insurance group, there is a greater understanding of the key issues faced by a supplier," writes the company. "First and foremost, service is key."

One United Kingdom auto glass business owner, who requested anonymity, offered the following perspective on the new ownership of Auto Windscreens.

"The purchase of a windscreen company by an insurer is a first to my knowledge and only similar to the tie-up was between Auto Windscreens and Aviva Insurance, where they both had the same parent company," he says. "[In that situation] from what we could see it was an uneasy alliance with no real grass roots integration between the companies as they both tried to keep some corporate distance, which meant that Aviva was dealing with [Belron-owned] AutoGlass and others at a time when they could have been maximizing savings by keeping work in-house under the group umbrella."

However, the same source says that Markerstudy is a small company compared to Aviva, which claims to the largest insurer in the United Kingdom and the sixth largest in the world.

"Auto Windscreens didn't seem to have the capacity or coverage to devote to this alliance for some reason and what could have been a really strong alliance, which gave major benefits to both parties, just never happened for some reason," he says. "Markerstudy is a minnow in the United Kingdom marketplace and is certainly dwarfed by Aviva … There would be no way Markerstudy could support Auto Windscreens with work."

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