You’ve been with AllClear for almost seven years, and in financial services for 20. What drew you to the insurance sector?
I was drawn to the insurance sector because of its unique combination of financial stability, varied roles across many areas, and the genuine opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Insurance is all about helping people manage risk and uncertainty, and I find that incredibly rewarding. This is especially true in travel insurance, where we help people in times of crisis across the world. Every week brings real-life customer experiences about the tremendous value of travel insurance, in that ‘moment of truth’ when a customer makes a claim and our teams respond.
Over the course of my 25-year career in financial services, I have had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented individuals and helping countless customers navigate difficult situations. It’s this sense of purpose and fulfilment that keeps me motivated and excited about the work we do.
We’re focused on providing our customers with the best possible service and value. We have a long history of working with large pools of data – more than 25 billion data points collected over 20 years – and believe that we have more data on complex medical conditions than anyone else in the industry. This gives us a unique advantage when it comes to understanding our customers’ needs and developing innovative products and services to meet them.
What have been your biggest challenges or successes since joining AllClear?
Since joining, my biggest successes have been growing the company to more than three times the size it was when I took the CEO role, and also winning multiple customer service awards. This is a testament to our entire team’s focus and commitment to providing outstanding innovative service to our customers.
We have worked hard to build a culture of excellence and continuous improvement, and it’s incredibly gratifying to see that recognised by industry experts and our customers alike.
The biggest challenge was undoubtedly running the business through the Covid-19 pandemic. We had to make some tough decisions about losing colleagues to ensure the ship didn’t sink, but we emerged stronger and more resilient as a result. It was a difficult time for everyone, but I am incredibly proud of how our team came together to support each other and our customers.
Throughout this challenging period, we remained focused on our core values of customer service, innovation, and long-term sustainable growth. We continued to invest in new technologies and develop new products and services that would help us better serve our customers in a rapidly changing environment. We were the first to give three months’ free cover, launch 15-month annual policies, cover Covid-19 for both medical and cancellation cover, and also extend our cover for carers and recuperation. This was market-leading at the time, with other companies subsequently following our lead.
What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis, and which aspects do you enjoy the most?
As Group CEO, my role involves a wide range of tasks on a day-to-day basis. I work closely with our senior leadership team to develop and implement strategies that drive growth and improve customer satisfaction.
I also spend a lot of time engaging with our employees, customers and partners to understand their needs and ensure we are delivering on our promises. One of the aspects I enjoy the most is seeing the impact our work has on people’s lives. Whether it’s mentoring, helping someone plan their dream holiday or providing support during a difficult time, it’s incredibly rewarding to know that you’re making a difference.
At AllClear Travel Insurance, we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and improve. We have a strong culture of experimentation and are always exploring new technologies and approaches that can help us deliver even better service to our customers.
How did the pandemic change how AllClear works, and have there been any learnings since then?
The pandemic forced us to adapt quickly and change how we work. We had to pivot to remote working almost overnight and find different ways to interact with our customers in a fast-moving environment. It was a very challenging time, but it also presented us with an opportunity to rethink how we do things and find new ways to add value.
We improved our business model and demonstrated in those uncertain times that people want to go to a good quality travel insurance provider that they can trust. We learned that being agile and responsive is the key to success in very uncertain times. We also discovered new methods of working that have made us more efficient and effective as an organisation. This translates ultimately into delivering lower customer prices while maintaining our quality cover.
The biggest challenge was undoubtedly running the business through the Covid-19 pandemic
One of the key learnings from this experience was the importance of staying laser focused on our customers’ needs. By listening closely to their feedback and adapting quickly to changing circumstances, we were able to continue delivering excellent service even in the midst of a global crisis.
I think we were one of the first companies to be fully off site and working from home. This was impressively enabled in a very short space of time by our wonderful IT team.
You have recently collaborated with Akur8 to boost AllClear’s pricing capabilities. Can you tell us about the partnership and why it’s so important to the business?
Our partnership with pricing and artificial intelligence (AI) specialists Akur8 is becoming incredibly important to our business. It allows us to make faster, powerful and more precise real-time pricing decisions and analyse nuanced trends and impacts quicker than the competition in travel insurance. This gives us a competitive edge and helps us provide much better value to our customers. We’re a company who loves technology and winning fast, while not being afraid to fail as long as we have learned something as a result.
Our pricing platform is data-led, using information we have collected over the past 20 years that provides quicker, more accurate decision making for price and risk calculations, integrating with Akur8’s advanced technical analysis system, which utilises the latest AI and modelling techniques. This, we believe, streamlines our insurance risk processes, making it ever more efficient and transparent as we generate real-time pricing and model risk more quickly. We compete in a dynamic market, and as a result can respond even more quickly to changes in the market and offer more tailored products and services to match customers’ needs. This helps us stay ahead of the curve and continue delivering excellent value.
In addition, this partnership allows us to take advantage of cutting-edge technology in order to drive innovation within our business. By using advanced data analysis techniques, we can gain deeper insights into customer behaviour and develop new products that better meet their medical conditions and specialist risk needs.
What are the main challenges to the travel insurance market at the moment?
The main challenges facing the travel insurance market at the moment include ongoing uncertainty around travel restrictions and changing consumer behaviour. The pandemic has fundamentally changed how people think about travel, and we need to be able to adapt quickly to meet their evolving needs. We’re all lucky everyone loves travelling and wants to do it more than ever!
At AllClear Travel Insurance, we are constantly monitoring the situation and working closely with our partners in the travel market to understand how we can best serve our customers, who are living with medical conditions and often vulnerable, in this new, very different environment. It means making best-guess estimates on staffing levels to ensure all areas are supported to deliver our great service. We recognise this has a cost so that’s why we’re so keen to bring in technology so we can deliver great products with good service but at a lower cost for customers.
One of the key challenges is also staying ahead of changing consumer preferences. People are looking for more flexibility when it comes to travel insurance, and we need to be able to provide that in order to remain competitive. We are frequently exploring new product offerings, digital innovation and service models that can help us meet these fast-changing needs to stay ahead of the competition. By innovating with advanced technologies, we can successfully address the challenges facing our industry and manage growing pricing risks. I’m excited to say we have a lot more to come here!
AllClear won four national awards in 2022. What is next for the business?
After winning the awards in 2022, we continue to focus on growing our business and providing excellent service to our customers. We have some very exciting plans in the works that we believe will help us achieve these goals. We’re proud to have again been shortlisted for another three big industry awards this year. It’s always pleasing to have our staff recognised for going above and beyond.
We believe that the future of insurance lies in the power of data and technology. Our top priority is innovating through unique, irreplicable data. We have a long history of working effectively and expertly with data and believe that we have more data on medical conditions than anyone else in the industry. This gives us a unique advantage when it comes to developing new products and services that meet the needs of our customers. We offer customers choice through millions of combinations – the right product, at the right price, delivered at the right time.
Another key priority is expanding our product offerings to meet the changing needs of travellers in a post-pandemic world. We identified a lack of personalisation in our industry. We’re investing in new technologies to deliver a bespoke customer experience. We have achieved a single customer view, with a 360-degree understanding of our customers’ interactions. As a result, we are creating innovative digital customer relationship management (CRM) journeys to engage with each customer more personally, giving the exact information customers need, when they need it, enhancing their end-to-end insurance experience.
We have created a unique tech ecosystem combining our customer relationship management (CRM), risk rating and pricing to create an individualised solution for each customer, which will only get better. We’re committed to creating a seamless and effortless insurance journey for our customers, and our focused digital innovation has played a crucial role in achieving this goal. We’re proud to be at the forefront of the digitalisation of insurance, and look forward to continuing to innovate while delivering exceptional service to our customers. I believe that AllClear will continue to be amongst the great leaders in the travel insurance marketspace.