He’s the former local leader of one of the world’s biggest insurers. Now, Daniel Fogarty has turned his attention to driving change in insurance, launching a brand new insurtech venture
Daniel Fogarty is passionate about assisting small businesses.
“Small businesses play a hugely important role in our economy … and they need to be properly insured so that when disaster strikes, they’ve got the financial means to recover and continue in business,” he tells Insurance Business.
It’s that passion that’s led Fogarty to co-found Evari, a new insurtech start-up.
“Evari is a direct to small business online insurance operation,” Fogarty says.
“We’re thinking right the way across the value chain to re-think how small businesses buy and manage their insurances. With the technology we’ve got, we do have some amazing freedom and flexibility to do that well.
“Our point of difference is we will be delivering to customers in a way that makes most sense to them.”
Fogarty says this opportunity brings together several skills he’s developed over his insurance career.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some great experiences in the insurance industry, both in intermediated and direct insurance [and] in personal and commercial. I was also fortunate to go to business school in Silicon Valley and while I was there, this entrepreneurial bug caught me. I’ve seen how challenging it is to get change in a big company. Being in a small company, you can be more adaptable and flexible to the customer’s needs.”
Fogarty’s Evari co-founders, Robert Jeffery and Brack Norris, are from backgrou2nds outside insurance.
“They come from strong technology backgrounds,” he says.
“I’m a great believer in diversity, and diversity of thought is critical in achieving new ways of doing business.
“Having those different backgrounds has been critical for us. We have a range of ages as well, and my two business partners have experience in the start-up world, whereas mine is big-company experience, so they’ve been helping and guiding me on the entrepreneurial journey.”
Fogarty discusses the benefits of having such diversity in the Evari team.
“My two business partners thought about this business firstly from a technology aspect, and now that we’re in business, we’ve got more people in our business with technology and customer experience backgrounds than we have with insurance backgrounds. They are challenging the insurers in the team on our thinking.”
Fogarty talks about the opportunities the growing insurtech space in Australia affords the industry.
“I’ve read that insurtech is maybe a Kodak moment for the insurance industry, whereas the way I like to think about it is, really, we’re at a Wi-Fi moment for the Australian insurance industry,” he says.
“Our industry is really well developed by international standards; we have very smart people who really understand insurance; we have the access to technology; we now have increasing access to capital … and we have a marketplace where customers want to try new things.”
Fogarty believes the Australian industry has all the attributes necessary to build an insurtech space that’s the envy of the rest of the world. He mentions the great technology available for the industry’s use today.
“We’ve been using Amazon Web Services as the basis of a lot of things we’re doing. The technology that’s available through AWS is amazing, and we can build enterprise systems at a much lower cost than we could in the past.”
Fogarty says that while the Evari team has looked around for software, it’s attempting to build as much as it can on its own.
“That gives us the flexibility to be able to meet the customer’s needs in the most appropriate way,” he explains.
“One of the challenges that the insurers have at the moment [is] they have big clunky back-end systems that they have to navigate around to then drive the customer experience. We’re starting at the other end. We’re saying, ‘What is a great customer experience? How do we give the customer what they need so they can understand and buy and service their insurance in the way they want to?’ and then deploy that back into the insurance process.”
He says the Evari team is working hard in preparation for a mid-year launch. So, what’s ahead over the next 12 months?
“It really depends on what the next six to nine months look like,” he says.
“We’d like this to be a great success and we’ve got the flexibility and technology. But we’re going to start small, make sure we can meet customers’ needs well, make sure we have got the insurance angle absolutely covered here, and then expand out our business from there.”
Fogarty hopes his efforts, and those of his Evari colleagues, will encourage others to enter the insurtech space.
“Hopefully, other people see me and others having a go at this and say, ‘Let’s see what we can change’, and together we’ll develop our industry into a much better space over the years to come.”
Specialty: Fully flexible end-to-end insurance platform (rate/quote/bind policy admin)
Locations: Australia and UK
Co-founders: Pictured from left to right: Robert Jeffery, Brack Norris and Daniel Fogarty
Daniel Fogarty’s career in insurance:
- Currently serves as a director of the Board of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)
- Served as Zurich’s CEO of general insurance, Australia and New Zealand from mid 2012 to late 2015
- Joined Zurich in 2009, becoming its chief operating officer in 2010 and then executive general manager, corporate in 2011
- Held a number of executive general manager positions in general insurance over 5½ years at Suncorp/Vero
- Qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in accounting, finance and systems) from the University of NSW and a Master’s from Stanford Graduate School of Business, California
Since this article was written, Evari sold their direct to small business online insurance business to Envest in mid-2021.