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Personal Lines Insurance
Thursday, April 1, 2010
New echelon

In order to meet the insurance requirements of the growing pool of discerning high net worth individuals, Santam has launched a new subsidiary with a set of tailored products to cater for this market. Named ‘Echelon’, the business will focus on the LSM 10+ market segment and through this venture the company hopes to increase market share. Echelon plans to offer a bespoke product range with superior cover and benefits in a price-sensitive market.

In keeping with the prestigious product offering, brokers who have a focus on Echelon’s chosen market segment will be advised and trained on the product offering.  These intermediaries traditionally have a high level of understanding of their client’s current needs and future requirements and are geared to provide superior personal service.
“The rising value of customer loyalty and retention means that we need to find innovative and relevant ways to engage with clients. We believe that the strong relationships our brokers have with our clients are the ideal vehicle to grow our relationships further with this astute group of both existing and potential clients. This means moving away from a one-size-fits-all-approach to one that is more tailored, personalised and segmented which achieves higher levels of customer bonding and longer term relationships,” says Quinten Matthew, executive head of Specialist Business at Santam.
A new Lifestyle Underwriting Model has been conceptualised to assist in selecting and servicing these clients. Created by Darrel Dawson, co-founder of Echelon, the new underwriting model targets clients in the LSM10+ market segment by rating each individually according to a Lifestyle Matrix. The Matrix allocates points according to the client’s lifestyle factors such as: age, gender, occupation, suburb, claims history and security. The selected client is then personally matched with the assets to be insured and offered a competitive premium that is determined by the client’s unique demographic risk profile.
“We are working closely with strategic partners to develop differentiating solutions that answer our clients’ unique needs,” he says. “The Echelon partnership is a great example of an innovative venture that not only speaks to our need to grow the business, but also to our client centric way of doing business.”
Dawson continues, “Echelon does its own specialist insurance underwriting and underwrites assets and all risk covers for motor, buildings, contents, pleasure craft, specified and unspecified assets, as well as flexible personal accident and personal liability solutions. We also offer clients innovative benefits such as roadside, home and trauma assistance (available on a transparent buy-up basis), comprehensive cover and competitive premiums for their personal assets.”
Echelon clients also have access to the ‘Help’ concierge service – providing access to preferred restaurants, a kids referral service, entertainment, household and auto concierge, as well as access to advanced driving courses and dedicated consultants to help plan holidays.
In addition Echelon offers its clients car replacement cover for a market-leading three year period. Should a new vehicle be stolen and not recovered within 30 days, or written-off, Echelon will replace or pay the cost of purchasing a new car of the same or similar make and model.
Another new feature is the Environmental Benefit which will assist clients in building or converting their current homes into an environmentally friendly house with features such as rainwater tanks and solar power heating.
To eliminate unnecessary documentation and printing, clients and brokers receive all documentation via e-mail and should additional information be required, a disc pack will be supplied.
“We live in an age where markets are saturated, products are commoditised and consumers are more and more empowered. Mass production, mass media and mass marketing is being replaced by a totally new one-to-one economic system. We believe that Echelon addresses these needs for broker and client certainty in its product design, pricing model and choice of Santam as the risk carrier. It is ultimately a partnership that will enable clients to receive peace of mind and a world of certainty which is a key focus for Santam in 2010,” concludes Matthew.

About Echelon:
Echelon is managed by leadership and staff who have in excess of 65 years underwriting and claims expertise in servicing the niche market. The model is designed to provide superior “Private Bank Type” personal service in partnership with specifically selected intermediaries who themselves are geared to provide superior personal service. Echelon’s value proposition endorses the intermediary’s expertise in client risk management and advocates the importance of broker representation for policyholders. Santam holds a 60% equity interest in Echelon, the balance is held by the founders, Mark Marinus, Darrel Dawson and Lawrence Gilby.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:23.4 1st April, 2010
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