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GK Insurance seeks new ground in car insurance market via internet

GK Insurance seeks new ground in car insurance market via internet

Targeting primarily the motor vehicle market, GK Insurance (GKI) — a subsidiary of the GraceKennedy group — has introduced a “design your own coverage” plan combined with online purchase.

Group CEO Don Wehby explained on Monday that the subsidiary is seeking to break new ground, “giving the market the power to create their own coverage based on their needs and desired spend”.

The company is eyeing growth within a market valued at $15.9 billion by premiums generated in 2015 in Jamaica. It is also targeting other Caribbean markets.

The company currently operates in Jamaica, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos Islands, but is “applying to establish branches in Trinidad and Guyana to commence operations in 2017,” Wehby said.  

“Additionally, through GraceKennedy Financial Group’s majority-owned insurance company in St Lucia – EC Global Insurance Company Ltd – we are in the process of applying to operate branches across the Eastern Caribbean,” he said.

GKI has 12 per cent of the Jamaican market, which places it among the top three players in the industry, Wehby indicated.

“Some 42 per cent of the general insurance market’s premiums are related to motor vehicle insurance, which makes it a key business line for GKI,” the group CEO said.

In 2015, GK Insurance ranked fifth in total assets, seventh in gross written premiums and second in net earned premium (following reinsurance premium ceded), he disclosed.

Now the general insurer is going after a market which spends billions annually on policy renewals and which is seeking a more convenient way to do it.

GKG Online is designed to do the necessary risk assessment in the background of the website. Wehby explained, “As clients input their information, validation and calculations are made resulting in accurate results being given. We also have a dedicated customer service team that customers may reach by phone or in person at any of our branches if they need additional support. The entire online purchase is seamless, which we believe enhances the entire customer experience, and the process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.”

Wehby would not disclose the amount invested in the new online platforms due to its market-sensitive nature, but said, “We believe in the strength of this offering, and so the investment in GKG Online has been considerable. Work is ongoing as further updates and enhancements are being implemented.”

He noted that the new online offering has become “one of our strongest sources of new business since the beginning of the year.

“We have sold approximately 1,000 policies to date, with customers purchasing from all over the world including Mexico and Australia. GKG Online is also a convenient way for the diaspora to insure their vehicle assets in Jamaica,” Wehby stated.

“We expect to see continued growth in this area because GKG Online is an investment in the future. As we seek to be more forward thinking, our service offering is to grow with the ever changing needs of our clients and the wider community,” the group CEO said.

For GKI gross Written Premiums in 2015 was $4.37 billion. “We have targeted solid growth across our portfolio in 2016 and we are confident that as we continue to deliver superior customer service and value-added products, we will meet our goals,” asserted Wehby.

GKI’s Microinsurance unit has recently launched a travel insurance website (www.GKGeneralti.com), he also disclosed. The site allows clients to purchase travel insurance directly online right after purchasing their ticket and/or hotel accommodations.

The general insurance provider additionally launched an “Ultimate Experience Campaign” earlier this year, described as an effort to give back to clients and offering the chance of winning one of six vacations that include Atlantis in the Bahamas, Disney World and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Avia Collinder

Jamaica Observer