A Welsh broker who has combined his love of cycling with his insurance knowledge and experience has been named among the most exciting start-ups in the UK.
Pedalcover, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, has been included in the 2016 Startups 100 index, which identifies privately-owned UK companies ‘launched on or after 1 January 2013 which demonstrate innovation, solid financials, economic impact and the ability to scale’. Businesses featured in previous years include Zoopla and notonthehighstreet.com.
The firm is the brainchild of Darren Thomas, who founded Pedalcover in August 2014, and has already written around 2,000 policies for a GWP of £600k – and he’s expecting that to hit £1m by the end of the year.
Thomas has represented Wales in pro-am cycling events, and competed in full triathlons including Ironman France, activities he combined with a successful career, developing a brokerage which was ultimately sold to Giles Insurance. Thomas stayed with Giles for a couple of years as personal lines director before finding his perfect niche.
He told Insurance Business: “With my background in cycling and insurance, I had a lightbulb moment – I saw all these other cyclists out on the road after the Olympics, there’d been Brad Wiggins and he’d had a big effect. I’d always struggled with cycle insurance myself so I decided to see if I could create a product which would appeal to everybody, especially with the rise of these ‘MAMILs’ – middle-aged men in lycra, as they’re called.
“I approached AXA, who are our underwriters, with the idea. Cycling insurance is all the rage at the moment it seems, but ours is completely different in that we have combined bike cover with our home insurance and enhanced it with lots of features for cyclists, triathletes and so on. We try to be a one-stop shop for customers, because it’s a lifestyle. As well as the cycling we offer travel insurance for people racing abroad, we do a healthcare product and cover for motorhomes, if they’re heading off for the weekend with their bikes and so forth.”
The success of Thomas’s new venture has had a downside – time out on his bike is at a premium these days. He said: “I’m not cycling as much as I’d like if I’m honest – the growth has been amazing, we’re doubling month on month at the moment!”