Stella Insurance-CEO im Exklusiv-Interview: Warum eine Kfz-Versicherung nur für Frauen so erfolgreich ist
Mit 24 Jahren gründete Sam White die erste Versicherungsgesellschaft, viele weitere Unternehmen sollten noch folgen. Ihr Herzstück ist Stella Insurance, Kfz-Versicherungen nur für Frauen. Neben Großbritannien ist die Marke auch in Australien durchgestartet. Und bald auch in Deutschland? VWheute sprach exklusiv mit der Gründerin über ihre Vorbilder und neue Technologien und Player im zukünftigen Kfz-Markt.
VWheute: When you look back on your career, was it difficult in retrospect for a woman to assert herself in the conservative insurance business and especially in the male-dominated automotive business?
Sam White: In hindsight it has probably been as much of a blessing as a curse having built my business in this industry. A good friend and inspiration to me Cindy Gallop once said “be your own filter” and by that she meant not to be guarded – moreover to be so obviously and completely who you are to such a degree that people will be left in no doubt who you are. This will either attract or reject the people who buy into you in equal measure. I have no doubt my outspoken style, particularly being female, will have restricted opportunities, but equally I feel many will have been drawn to me as a result.
VWheute: Did you have any particular role models or managers who built up a large company on their own?
Sam White: I’m sorry to say I did not within this industry as there are very few female entrepreneurs in the insurance world, and none that I had any direct experience of, so I was unable to see role models that I could aspire to in that regard. However, beyond our industry, I looked more to people like Oprah Winfrey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and others to see representations of women who got things done, but also followed their own path doing it.
VWheute: How did you come up with the idea of offering car insurance for women only? How has the product been received so far and can you see Stella Insurance conquering other European markets like Germany?
Sam White: I have always loved the idea of designing products specifically with women in mind. So much of the world, from car seatbelts, drugs, even kitchen shelves heights, has been designed from a male perspective. I think it’s not only fair but long overdue to start to flip this thinking. Of course, that’s not to say we don’t insure men, we do, but the design features, customer experience, communication, brand and overall purpose is completely female centric. My honest belief is that lots of men will enjoy a product designed for women, and this is reflected in that 28% of our clients are male with Stella in Australia. I absolutely do think this would also be popular in the rest of Europe, and after we launch in the UK this year, we will begin exploring other opportunities.
VWheute: In Germany, customers mostly buy car policies through comparison portals online only. What is the situation in Great Britain? Does Stella have its own sales force?
Sam White: Price comparison in both the UK and Australia is strong, but Stella also does well in its direct marketing channels and has a very high retention rate.
VWheute: How hard has the Corona pandemic affected their business? Are they more digital and diversified now, and do their employees still like to work from home offices?
Sam White: In both my businesses in UK and Australia, we have fully adopted hybrid working where people are free to work from home as long as it works for both them and the business. We constantly evaluate the suitability of the hybrid model through conversations with individuals and analysis of performance data and customer feedback. In terms of customers, between 85 and 93% buy for a fully digital experience. We are investing in reshaping the way we interact with our customers by harnessing technologies such as AI and exploring how AI data analysis can help us shape our products and services in the future.
VWheute: Start-ups such as Tractable want to use artificial intelligence to assess the damage and provide a repair estimate within 30 seconds. How digital and fast is their claims processing?
Sam White: I haven’t used their tech but have seen similar technology in claims, it’s absolutely the future and will help to massively improve customer experience in claims, which still requires much work across the board in insurance.
VWheute: You have founded many motor insurance companies. How would you describe the future of the division?
Sam White: It is increasingly challenging, with XOL costs, automation, and cost of repairs with increased technology. However, there is also lots of opportunity still to innovate and delight customers with far more engaging experiences and purpose driven brands.
VWheute: After all, in a few years there may be autonomous cars and a dispute with car manufacturers over data and who is liable in the event of an accident.
Sam White: I think this will be a hotly debated issue, and suspect some form of cyber insurance will be needed to bridge the gap between the two.
VWheute: Moody’s predicts that Tesla will gain significant market share in the insurance business and that other automakers will follow Tesla’s lead. Do you fear that carmakers will sell more and more insurance?
Sam White: I think it’s inevitable, and smart insurers will need to think bigger picture and form strategic partnerships to maintain market share.
VWheute: What are your personal and business goals for the next few years?
Sam White: Personally I want to expand my blended family with my lovely wife, probably take some risk off the table with a partial liquidity event. Business wise, growth is high on the agenda into more product lines and new territories. My dream is to make Stella a global one-stop shop for female centric insurance products and hopefully do a lot of good along the way.
Die Fragen stellte VWheute-Redakteur David Gorr.