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Insurance software specialist chooses Exeter for UK headquarters

Insurance industry software specialist, BAAC, is opening a new office in Exeter, following the Managing Director’s relocation from South Africa.

Established in 1997 as PinnAfrica, BAAC provides bespoke web based software to the insurance industry in order to manage sales, claims and contact databases.

Owners Neville and Belinda Du Piesanie and the South Africa Operations Director, bought the company, which boasts some of the biggest names in the motoring industry among its clients, three years ago.

They decided to make the move to the UK with their teenage son in order to make the most of the plentiful lifestyle and business opportunities, as well as the exemplary educational offering. PinnAfrica will continue to operate in South Africa whilst BAAC establishes itself in the UK.

Whilst researching UK cities for BAAC’s headquarters, Neville chose Exeter from a shortlist of three, alongside Manchester and Birmingham. Following a visit hosted by the Economy team at Exeter City Council, the couple moved to the UK in December 2016 and hope to open headquarters at the Exeter Science Park Centre in Spring 2017.

Neville, Managing Director of BAAC, said:

After just two days’ visit here we knew that Exeter was the ideal location to grow our UK business and provide the lifestyle that we wanted for our family. With a web-based business, we had the luxury of choosing wherever we wanted and could find the perfect location for both our business and personal life.
In choosing Exeter, we have access to a pool of talented graduates from the university, with the skills and potential needed to help to grow our business. There is also plenty of opportunities to work with and collaborate with like-minded businesses, especially at Exeter Science Park. Another bonus of being based in Exeter is the excellent transport links to London and across the UK, meaning we can easily work with clients across the country.

Many people think that software and technology based businesses in the UK need to be in London, but in reality, this type of business lends itself perfectly to working anywhere, whilst still providing a high-quality service and product to the clients.

BAAC will provide consultancy and solutions to start-ups, financial services and insurance-related businesses in the UK and beyond, with services tailored to each customers’ requirements.

Future aspirations for the business include creating new and respectable payment protection insurance (PPI) packages where a monthly fee is charged for the duration of the loan and end when a loan finishes. In South Africa, PPI does not have the same reputation that it does in the UK, and is offered as a respectable, real benefit to the customer, a concept that BAAC believes could also work in the UK.

The systems that BAAC provides offer customers fully integrated solutions and include: the Business Insurance and Administration System (BIAS) which offers full insurance and business administration functions; and Seriti-Dealer which integrates with the BIAS system to allow users to intercept policies live at point of sale and generate full dealer reporting.

The South African branch of the business, PinnAfrica, employs 25 staff and works with the likes of BMW and Ford South Africa. The company offers good working conditions including flexible working hours.

Neville added:

We like to provide a good work-life balance for staff and this is why we offer flexible hours. Staff also receive an incentive in the form of a share of the profit at the end of the year. Everyone receives the same amount, irrespective of job role or level, which breaks down silos within the business and shows staff that we value each of them equally.
We also strongly believe in developing talent internally and think that if you find a person with the right attitude and work ethic, they can be trained to become an integral part of the business. Many of the staff members we have today have learnt on the job and become multi-skilled workers that are a huge asset to the business. This is a model we will look to replicate here in the UK.

BAAC hope to start out in the hot-desking space in the Science Park Centre and plan to grow the business from there. The company is looking to bring one of its coders over from South Africa to work with UK clients and to coach new, local talent within the business.

Cllr Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy at Exeter City Council, said:

We’re really happy to welcome BAAC to Exeter and will continue to support them as they start to grow their UK business base. It’s not an easy decision to relocate your family and start up a business venture in a brand-new city, so we are very pleased that Neville and Belinda chose Exeter. With our growing tech industry, impressive knowledge base and wealth of businesses, we have no doubt that BAAC will continue to be a huge success in the area.

For more information about relocating a business to Exeter or about the opportunities available to businesses based in the city, visit http://investinexeter.co.uk or follow @investinExeter on Twitter.