Photo of KTP Associate Jade Pelham sat in front of a computer that has 3D modelling software loaded on the screen
UKRI Innovate UK Logo
KTP Best of the Best Awards Winner 2020
Birmingham City University Logo


SBS Insurance Services (SBS) are an award-winning insurance company of national repute. 

SBS Insurance Services (SBS) Logo

With the jewellery insurance industry typically using out-of-date practices and obsolete methods, SBS Insurance Services identified a gap in the market to partake in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and provide a more stream-lined and efficient service, disrupting the Insurance industry that had not changed for 20 years. To take advantage of this – and to ensure they led, rather than followed, the latest developments – SBS enlisted the help of Birmingham City University’s Faculty of the Arts, Design & Media, School of Jewellery. Reaching out to established academics within the University, SBS wanted to provide a better service for their clients, a more reliable system for their staff and embrace modern technology.

The partnership has helped us bring jewellery replacement into the twenty-first century and has far exceeded our expectations. We've almost doubled the size of our team and upskilled our insurance claim handlers.


SBS, based in Cannock, is one of the UK’s most distinguished multi-commodity claims handling businesses. They are appointed by some of the UK’s largest insurance companies to provide better replacement household contents, including electrical products, mobile tech, flooring, furniture and jewellery.

However, Paul Fairbrass – Technical Director at SBS – felt they could do with improving their technology and skills for use in claim handling. Principally, insurance claims for jewellery remained poor, while claims for lost or stolen property were often lengthy processes.

With SBS and other insurance firms still adhering to old and established practices, Paul Fairbrass sought to work with Birmingham City University to turn SBS into a disruptor in the market, using new and more reliable methods.


Birmingham City University suggested a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), an Innovate UK-funded project that sees a graduate and lead academic from the University work with a company to improve their knowledge base and skills. The KTP 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.


The successful delivery of the KTP has enabled SBS Insurance Services to improve their competitiveness and productivity. By embracing 3D printing technology and techniques, jewellery items originally deemed irreplaceable can now be replicated and reproduced, leading to the development of a validation tool for handling jewellery claims.

Furthermore, the collaboration has resulted in SBS Insurance Services being recognised nationally, winning the Technology Award and being shortlisted for Claims Initiative of the Year at the British Insurance Awards.

This really does demonstrate how the skills of our students, staff and graduates can benefit the needs of local businesses.

Jade Pelham, KTP Associate, and Paul Fairbrass, Technical Director at SBS

Jade Pelham, KTP Associate, and Paul Fairbrass, Technical Director, SBS Insurance Services (SBS), celebrate winning their Business Impact Award at the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and InnovateUK’s KTP ‘Best of the Best’ Awards in 2020.


Other benefits have included:

  • Doubling the size of the team to handle demand;
  • Upskilling call handlers;
  • Networking with key industry contacts;
  • Overall workplace has expanded by 20%, with two new office openings

There have also been numerous benefits for both the University and Jade’s future career prospects. The KTP partnership with SBS Insurance Services has been graded ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK, the highest rating they can bestow. Meanwhile, Jade has now secured a full-time role with the company and is working towards becoming a fellow of the Institute of Registered Valuers.


If you’re a SME or larger businesses from any sector looking to develop a competitive edge from business support, funding and R&D activities with university experts and specialists, we invite you to enquire about a KTP at BCU.

Please send us an enquiry and we will contact you to discuss how we can help.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 45 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this service free of charge? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

KTPs are part-funded by Innovate UK and Research Councils. The funding you will receive is contingent on the size of your business…


- up to 67% of KTP costs for SMEs

- up to 50% of KTP costs for larger businesses

Am I eligible to use this service? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

If you are a UK-based business looking to fund the advancement of an innovative idea, then we welcome your application.

How long will I receive support for? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership lasts between 18 and 36 months. The duration of support is dependent on your specific project requirements.

Where are you located? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

If you are eligible for support, your account manager will work with you at your place of business.

What is "GBSLEP" and do I need to be located in this region? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

"GBSLEP" stands for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. As well as Birmingham and Solihull, the region covers Lichfield, Cannock Chase, Wyre Valley, East Staffordshire, Redditch and more.

Unlike some of our other business support services, there is no requirement for KTP members to be located within the GBSLEP region, although your business does have to be based in the UK.

I've made an enquiry, what next? faq-up-arrowCreated with Sketch.faq-down-arrowCreated with Sketch.

A member of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership team will review your enquiry and be in touch shortly.

Join Our Business Support Newsletter