If you turn on Sky TV today (Thursday, June 16) then you may be in for a surprise, because there is a good chance you’ll see advertising from a brand new comparison website – or at least a comparison website with a difference.
Joining the space dominated by the likes of moneysupermarket.com and gocompare.com is beprotectedinsurance.com – a website focusing, initially at least, on the life insurance sector and led by Alistair Moncrieff, who was also the founder of Valmont Ventures and ClicksPay. He spoke exclusively to Insurance Business UK
and explained that the business is not as new as it may seem.
“We’ve been flying under the radar deliberately,” he said. “We actually generate a lot of traffic enquiries ourselves – we generate about 600 enquiries a day at the moment. The business is growing at a great rate – turnover is increasing by about 25 per cent per month. So we’re doing something right - now we want to launch our brand.
“Over the last 18 months we’ve been defining our customer journey in terms of how to meet their needs and learning everything there is to know about life insurance before launching into the big wide world. So now Beprotectedinsurance.com will be advertising on TV from Thursday for two weeks with just a small spend before we hit hard in Octo
The comparison market, of course, is somewhat saturated with so many big names in the market appearing to have their own TV advertising battles. So how can a new player hope to compete? According to Moncrieff, the answer is that they’re not direct competitors because beprotectedinsurance.com offers a different style of service.
“The difference between the typical comparison website model and our own model is we transact ourselves,” he said. “With a normal comparison website they generate leads and the customer is not their customer – their customer is whoever they have sold that lead to. So we are taking a different approach.
“We broker on behalf of all the big name insurance companies but as opposed to redirecting you straight to, for example, Aviva
’s website, we actually build our own call centres so we are actually selling as well. So we’re not just a lead generation model – the beprotectedinsurance.com business model is to transact all its own business and to earn a commission from the insurance companies by arranging the policies. We don’t give any advice, we don’t steer a customer to any particular product – and it’s all transparent in terms of what quotes come back and what they can see – but what we’re about is transacting that business.
“Our end game is for someone to buy, for example, life insurance from us today and then in six months’ time we speak to them and say ‘right, what about your home insurance renewal?’ So then instead of passing that lead on to a home insurance provider we will transact that business internally. So we’re not getting paid for a click.”
Even with this different model, however, isn’t Moncrieff concerned about being swallowed up by the more established market players?
“The volume is out there in terms of customer demand,” he said. “We’re going to be an insurance-exclusive comparison website and over the next 12 months we will be launching our own health insurance product, our own travel insurance and our own gadget insurance.
“I can’t compete with the moneysupermarkets because I don’t have a billion pounds in funding. But what we’re doing is similar to what moneysupermarket did when it first formed and focused on mortgages – but we’re focusing on life insurance. We don’t want to be a go-to comparison website – we don’t want to sell you insurance today and credit cards tomorrow. We want to be a go-to for insurance – where customers get all their insurance needs.
“I am hoping that within the next 12months each customer has at least three policies with us – it might be life, home and health, it might be life, gadget and travel – and they’d have one portal within our system. So it’s similar to robo advice platforms except that we don’t offer advice – they’ll have one place to view all their insurance as opposed to us just being another standard broker.
“We’ve got fully trained staff – we’ve got a headcount just short of 40. They can ask us what they want and transact their business over the telephone. So we’re going to set ourselves aside by being a one-stop shop for insurance related products.”
So should brokers be fearful that this website will cut into their business instead? According to Moncrieff they have a different target customer – but it’s up to brokers to move with the times to keep up with changing needs among a younger clientele.
“To be brutally honest, I think the IFA business model is a dying model,” he said. “My background is in financial services – I understand how they think and work. Unless they’re geared towards volume business they can’t transact quickly enough; and unless they’re geared towards lead generation they can’t generate enough enquiries quickly enough.
“For me, the IFA has to go two ways – the super wealthy and the middle wealth. But for the man on the street, they don’t want to pay for advice - especially among younger people who know they can go on to Google and do research before buying.
“Potentially we are taking some of their market from them – but I am also attracting a different customer than the IFA would ever speak to. Customers go to us, we don’t go to customers.
“My dream customer is spending £15 a month on a life insurance policy – that’s what we’re looking for. We’re focused on volume and we make it affordable. We tell them about other things – but we don’t push them for it. We don’t upsell. We just give the customer what they ask for.”
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