INSTANDA’s CEO, Tim Hardcastle, is undergoing training to become a recreational race car driver, a passion of his since he was an adolescent. At first glance, the worlds of race car driving and insurance seem miles apart, but upon closer inspection, the two share intrinsic commonalities.
“My risk awareness skills are perfectly suited for racing,” Hardcastle said.
“Both require an attentiveness and the ability to assess different probabilities for any given outcome.”
In an interview with Insurance Business, Hardcastle expanded on the similarities between his personal passion for racing and his professional experience in insurance, especially as it relates to risk analysis, brokers and MGAs.
When embarking on a race, there is a lot of information needed in order for a driver to navigate their vehicle at an optimum performance while avoiding any potential crash.
“Having good and extensive data is important,” Hardcastle said.
“You need to be able to understand your car, the particularities of the track and how to maneuver around it in a way that will avoid a collision but give you an edge over your competitors.”
When breaking down the essential tenets of insurance, there is a lot of overlap between the mindset of assessing and preventing risk through strict evaluation techniques.
“The better your data ingestion, the better you underwrite risks,” Hardcastle said.
The parallels between underwriting and racing do not stop at the importance of advantageous data collection, they also encompass an individual’s use of that information to influence their decision making.
“As an underwriter, you’ll have different thresholds of how much risk you will be prepared to take on, someone could be more aggressive on the risk threshold than other person,” Hardcastle said.
“And it’s the same in racing, someone will be more aggressive on saying ‘I think I can go that little bit quicker, and the car won’t turn over’.”
When preparing to become a professional racer, Hardcastle enlisted the help of a certified trainer to help him better understand how to navigate a track both vigilantly and competitively.
“My guide throughout this preparatory process has been very helpful in helping me understand how to avoid or overcome any hurdles on the racetrack,” Hardcastle said.
This indelible insight based on data is no different than a policyholder’s experience dealing with an insurance agent or broker as they seek out coverage for whatever their needs are.
“Working with a trainer is similar to working with an agent or broker,” Hardcastle said. “Their expertise in risk analysis can significantly help a client make better decisions to avoid any potential losses by being more observant.”
Furthermore, racing is an insurable sport, which means insurance professionals are well versed on the risks involved with stepping behind the wheel.
As a result, there are many steps that are taken to prioritize the safety of the driver, whether that is through on-site medical personnel or the physical design of the track/cars to prevent any crashes.
“Racetracks are more safe than public highways,” Hardcastle said. “Statistically there are less incidents of erratic behaviour in NASCAR or Formula 1 than out in the real world, and that is primarily because drivers who are trained properly are better at navigating a car than your average person.”
The notion of racing being dangerous and reckless is pervasive, which can prevent individuals from pursuing it professionally or recreationally.
“It takes someone with courage and a curiosity to try new things to excel at racing, especially considering the rampant misunderstanding about the sport,” Hardcastle said.
This more exploratory mindset is perfectly aligned with the role of an MGA, whose top priority is creating insurance opportunities for more niche concerns.
“MGAs are typically adventurous in what kinds of business they write,” Hardcastle said.
“They are more prone to enter into spaces that others may not have a firm understanding of and find ways to serve the voids in those specialized markets.”