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Academic and industry 3D printing partnership celebrates award success

An academic and industry partnership which introduced 3D printing technology to a leading jewellery insurance business is celebrating success following an important award win.
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Jade Pelham, KTP Associate, and Paul Fairbrass, Technical Director at SBS

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Academic and industry 3D printing partnership celebrates award success

An academic and industry partnership which introduced 3D printing technology to a leading jewellery insurance business is celebrating success following an important award win.
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Jade Pelham, KTP Associate, and Paul Fairbrass, Technical Director at SBS

A Birmingham City University-led Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Cannock-based insurers SBS scooped the Business Impact Award at the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and InnovateUK’s KTP ‘Best of the Best’ Awards in 2020 for ‘creating positive digital disruption in the insurance claims sector.’

SBS, marking its 20th year in business in 2020, handles insurance claims on behalf of more than 23 insurance companies – including household names like Allianz, Direct Line, Legal & General and Lloyds Bank. 

Claim handling for the jewellery sector has seen little change in decades and is characterised by slow claim processing, with little innovation and poor customer satisfaction. 

The Innovate UK-funded project matched a graduate and lead academics from the University to work with the company to improve their knowledge base and skills.

The partnership saw Jade Pelham, KTP Associate, who graduated from the University’s School of Jewellery, begin working with SBS under the supervision of Senior Lecturers Frank Cooper and Kate Thorley.

By introducing and embracing 3D printing technology and techniques, jewellery items previous deemed irreplaceable can now be redeveloped and reproduced, leading to the development of a validation tool for handling jewellery claims.

The collaboration has resulted in the business being recognised nationally for its achievements, doubling the size of its team to handle demand, and leading to two further office openings. The latest award win follows the company’s nomination as a finalist in the Technology & Innovation category at the British Insurance Awards for further digital development.

Paul Fairbrass, Technical Director at SBS, said, “We are absolutely delighted at our award win this year, which confirms SBS’s focus on an innovative digitisation of the claims process and shows we are leading the way in Insurance claims handling.

“The partnership has helped us to bring jewellery replacement in to the twenty-first century and has far exceeded our expectations. Working collaboratively with BCU has proven to be a successful, rewarding endeavour – an achievement we hope to repeat and recommend emphatically.”

Professor Alison Honour, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University, said, “This fruitful working relationship between our specialists and industry really does demonstrate how the skills of our students, staff and graduates can benefit the needs of local businesses.”

Dr Russ Bromley from the Knowledge Transfer Network, who advised on the partnership, said, “KTP exists primarily to increase UK plc’s competitiveness and global impact, so I rate this award as the top one to win. SBS and Birmingham City University winning the Project with the Greatest Commercial Impact at the 2020 KTP Awards was very special.  It has been a privilege to be a part of the growth of KTP over the last 25 years and witness at first hand the transformation it brings to companies and the lives of all those involved in it.


Learn more about the benefits of a KTP with BCU and how we can help enhance the productivity of your business…

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