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This year’s BIBA Conference theme, “What’s Next?” couldn’t have been much more appropriate for ARAG as our expanded team descended on Manchester, in the middle of May.

It’s now almost six months since ARAG’s acquisition of DAS UK was completed and formally announced to the industry. Work was obviously well underway long before that, to plan the integration of the two organisations, but BIBA marked the first time that we have faced the market as one business.

The event has certainly changed over the many years that I’ve been attending and is probably unrecognisable from the first BIBA conference, that was held almost 50 years ago.

Those of us with longer insurance memories will recall that BIBA was once a moveable feast, passing on to a new city, each year. Cardiff, Glasgow, Brighton, Bournemouth and Belfast all played host to the conference until it outgrew all but Manchester Central and London’s ExCeL, between which it alternated until settling into its current, seemingly permanent home, where it has now been held for more than a decade.

The familiarity of the Manchester surroundings to most attendees has probably helped to engender another big change that we have seen at the conference over recent years. While the event was always busy and a fantastic opportunity to catch-up with familiar faces and engage with new ones, these days BIBA is much more focused on getting down to business.

It’s not just about us all having many more, and more formal meetings. BIBA really is the conference where business is done, not just talked about. As one exhibitor delegate put it, “It’s almost like three months’ worth of meetings in one day.”

It was great timing for us and proved the perfect opportunity to share “What’s Next?” for ARAG with business partners old and new, across the insurance industry. Our CEO and COO, Tony Buss and Tony Coram, have already talked about how the two businesses fit together and what more ARAG can offer, now that we are one.

While both organisations shared a lot of common values and a deep commitment to expanding access to justice, the two operations were very different and bringing them together creates some serious synergy.

Before the acquisition, ARAG was solely an MGA but has now acquired an insurance company, as well as a law firm that will enable us to deliver services in new ways. Our focus is very much around building on the model and reputation that ARAG has developed for delivering great service, rather than replacing it.

What else is next? My colleague Matt Warren was also at BIBA and has written about the investment the international ARAG Group is making, that will enable us to deliver new products and develop our technological capabilities, to deliver them in new ways.

ARAG is still driven by the fundamental, founding principle of extending access to justice, as widely as possible, and the business is now in an even better position to do that.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.