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As it celebrates 10 years in the life insurance business, needs-matched insurer BrightRock attributes its success to financial advisers

31 May 2021 BrightRock
BrightRock Founders: Sean Hanlon - Executive Director, Schalk Malan – CEO and Suzanne Stevens – Deputy CEO

BrightRock Founders: Sean Hanlon - Executive Director, Schalk Malan – CEO and Suzanne Stevens – Deputy CEO

Needs-matched life insurer, BrightRock, celebrates its tenth anniversary today. Founded in 2011 BrightRock has stayed true to its roots of living and loving change over the past decade. The company, which started around a dining room table, has received industry recognition for its approach to changing the way financial services products work to better meet people’s needs.

BrightRock went to market in April 2012, in the wake of a recession that had challenged people’s long-held beliefs in financial services institutions. Looking back on those early days, BrightRock’s Executive Director, Sean Hanlon reflects that it was a period of global systemic change, of distrust in the way things had traditionally been done – a time when people were demanding greater control. He says that, amid all this change, he and his fellow BrightRock founders saw the opportunity to create change in its industry. To harness technology and design needs-matched money products that would enable individuals to better navigate change in their own lives. Financial solutions that precisely meet people’s individual needs and keep changing with them as their lives change.

“For the past 10 years, the ability to see the opportunity inherent in all change by applying our needs-matched approach to everything we do, has allowed BrightRock to create a leading South African financial services business that is challenging and changing the industry. However, we couldn’t have achieved this without the partnership and support of the adviser community,” says Hanlon.

From a zero-base start-up launched on 31 May 2011, BrightRock has now grown rapidly into a market leader; the company is South Africa’s fastest-growing life insurer and the third-largest life insurer in its market segment, having paid out over R2.4 billion in claims and covering 2.8 million lives across the individual risk, group risk and funeral assistance markets.

An advice-centred approach

A key element of BrightRock’s needs-matched approach has been the role of the financial adviser, as sound financial advice unlocks the value of needs-matched policies, which provide clients with up to 40% more cover for the same premium rand and are flexible enough to change as clients’ needs evolve.

“At the time that we were starting BrightRock, as is the case now, there was much speculation about the declining role of advisers and advice in the so-called ‘robo advice era’. However, we believed that it was not financial advice that needed to change, but the products available to financial advisers. We set out to create a life insurance solution that would platform and match the advice provided”.

BrightRock believes that, far from declining, the role of the adviser will become even more relevant in the future.

“The rapid technological advancements we’re seeing and the fundamental changes in consumers’ needs create opportunities for financial advisers, as our industry moves away from a commoditised approach to a client-centric approach. This puts access to expert advice front and centre – in other words, moving away from an industry that sells products to one where we sell advice. The future is sophisticated, highly differentiated and completely individualised product offerings that enable financial advisers and their clients to co-create an individually crafted product solution for each individual,” notes Hanlon.

According to Hanlon, the adviser community has been instrumental in shaping BrightRock’s evolution, with the insurer regularly launching new product enhancements and expanding its offering in response to the feedback and input of financial advisers. Today, BrightRock also operates in the group risk and funeral insurance market and anticipates that it will continue growing in both existing and new markets.

“The past 10 years have been exciting and innovative ones for BrightRock, and we have always envisioned that our business would grow into a multi-product financial services institution of scale. We believe that in the past decade we have delivered unequivocal evidence of the power of our needs-matched offering, which we simply couldn’t have done without advisers. BrightRock is poised to continue growing and innovating, to continue finding better ways to meet clients’ financial needs throughout their lives and to continue changing our industry in the process. We look forward to what the next 10 years will bring, in partnership with the financial advisers who have made our growth thus far possible,” concludes Hanlon.

 

Quick Polls

QUESTION

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has the power to raise revenues by issuing administrative penalties and fines against non-compliant financial services providers, with this money flowing back to the Treasury… Does this, in your view, create a regulatory / government conflict of interest?

ANSWER

Absolutely, as conflicted as it gets
Maybe, I’m on the fence on this
No, the FSCA can do no wrong
The guilty must pay
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