It is always nice to see hard work rewarded, and that has happened this week for hundreds of people working in insurance jobs at Bexhill-based company, Hastings. The 16 year old company, which has shown increasingly impressive growth in recent years and been praised for their work in combating fraud, have just sold a 50% stake to US financial giant Goldman Sachs, placing the estimated value at around £700m (including debts). As 80% of Hasting’s employees hold shares in the business, they will enjoy direct financial gains from the deal.

The Hastings Insurance Group incorporates brands: Hastings Direct, Likewise, Renew and People’s Choice and is known for its cartoon mascot, Harry Hastings. Since last year the chief executive has been Gary Hoffman, the man who managed to turn around the fortunes of Northern Rock, getting them back into profit whilst in government ownership. Hoffman described this week’s deal as “a strong tribute to all the hard work that everyone in the Hastings team has put in so far,” hinting at greater things to come.

After acquiring its millionth customer in March last year, the insurance group now has 1.3 million and hope to be the main insurance provider for 10% of UK residents by 2020. The group earned £85.3m in the last accounting year, during which time they also purchased the Advantage Insurance Group. One of the biggest employers in the Newmarket area, Hastings were also star rated in the 2012 Best Company Survey. The group’s principal strength is likely to reside in the diversity of their insurance assets.