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9 lessons from 9 years

03 June 2021 King Price
Gideon Galloway CEO at King Price

Gideon Galloway CEO at King Price

Back in June 2012, a new insurance company launched, with a bold vision of turning the local insurance industry on its head. It wasn’t so much a start-up as an upstart. Most people said it wouldn’t last three months. Nine years later, King Price has become one of the most recognisable brands in South Africa.

From a wannabe insurer with an unusual business model – your premiums reduce every month, along with the value of your car - King Price has grown into a 1,100-person, R6bn company that has sold more than 315,000 policies.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing, admits King Price’s maverick CEO, Gideon Galloway. It took a while for the market to get used to the company’s vision of doing insurance differently, and its quirky way of doing things. And then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, changing the world as we know it in an instant.

Along the way, there were lessons to be learned. Here are Galloway’s 9 insights and highlights from the past 9 years.

We all want protection
“When King Price entered the market, insurance was seen as a grudge purchase. It still is. But there’s been a growing realisation among South Africans that insurance is critical to cushioning life’s unexpected blows. It just has to deliver value.”

We need new products for new times
“Consumers don’t want to pay increasing premiums for assets that are decreasing in value, or standing idle because of changed commuting habits. King Price launched during lockdown a product that bases premiums on the number of kilometres that clients drive per month. And there are more innovations to come.”

The future belongs to the machines
“Technology is changing the face of insurance, with better data analysis allowing insurers to determine individual risk to a point of near perfection. This results in more accurate and fair premiums, which means lower-risk clients will pay less for insurance.”

Consumers are driving change
“Technology is the enabler, but clients are the real disruptors. They want simple products tailored to their needs, a slick engagement experience, and the ability to interact on the platform of their choice. We’re enabling our clients to manage their policies at any time, from wherever they happen to be. Our range of digital-first, human-friendly services is tailored to the exact needs of clients.”

Company culture is critical
“It’s never been more critical for companies to show their clients and staff that they’re important. We’re seeing a greater focus than ever on company culture that’s empowering and enabling – but this can only happen in a business that’s based on purpose and values.”

Organic growth will only take you so far
“The South African short term insurance market remains cut-throat, with clients often changing their insurer for a few Rands less on their monthly premium. For insurers to grow, it’s important to be open to acquisitions and alliances that can take the business forward, whether locally – like King Price’s acquisition of long term insurer Stangen – or abroad.”

‘Digital-first’ drives opportunity
“One of King Price’s founding principles was that a ‘digital-first’ business model would be fundamental to unlocking new value. We’re already seeing alliances and collaboration between traditional insurance and new entrants: The traditional companies provide the footprint, the market knowledge and the client base; the digital insurer drives new insurance models and revenue streams, higher profitability, improved customer experience and reduced operational costs.”

Time to reaffirm our purpose
“Today’s consumers seek out companies and brands that align with their values. In volatile times, it’s more important than ever to remember our purpose. At King Price, our company is driven by our vision: Lower premiums: Higher purpose. Our vision in action sees us #MakingADifference and changing people’s lives.”

Never waste a good crisis
Over the past 9 years, I’ve repeatedly said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. We’re in the middle of one of the greatest crises of our lifetimes – and the lessons we’re learning could just set us up for the next decade. We can’t afford to waste this opportunity.”

Quick Polls

QUESTION

Healthcare brokers have long complained about inflation-plus medical scheme contribution increases; but pandemic may have changed things. What will pandemic-induced changes in hospital utilisation do to medical scheme contribution increase patterns?

ANSWER

Below inflation increase for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
Long-term trend of below inflation increases
Inflation-linked hikes for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
This is a 2-year hiccup, inflation-plus increase trend remains in place
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