FOR the first time in TT, people will be able to get quotes on motor and property insurance online. After getting these quotes, they can get their insurance certificates delivered directly to them. This revolutionary service is being offered by the Arima-based Universal Insurance Brokers Limited (UIBL).
The company was established on January 22, 2015 by Troy Gabriel. At the launch of UIBL's new Usurance digital platform at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, executive director Melesha Gabriel spoke in glowing terms of her husband's vision after getting his broker's licence from the Central Bank, at the age of 38.
Prior to launching UIBL, Gabriel said Troy worked daily from 6 am to 9 pm. Much of this work involved delivering insurance certificates to clients in places such as Tunapuna and Sangre Grande. Working in the field in the insurance business for eight years, Gabriel said Troy knew about "going the extra mile for the customer and working tirelessly towards making his dream a reality."
Understanding the needs of the customers, Gabriel said Troy always worked to serve them with "fortitude, focus and faith." She said he became respected by his clients for his strong work ethic and honesty. Gabriel said it was because of her belief in his vision that she resigned from her own "promising career" to join him in establishing UBIL. Despite the odds being stacked against them, UBIL opened its doors for business on March 22, 2015.
Gabriel explained the creation of Usurance was in keeping with UIBL's mission to "to drive change for a smarter and more efficient way to obtain insurance coverage." She said, "Our systems are fully automated and paperless," adding that UIBL understands the need to be innovative because " the work around us is evolving."
The company, she said, understands that people's time is a valuable commodity, including when it comes to getting insurance quotes in a timely manner. This was one reason why the company looked at re-allocating resources towards digital solutions. Through this strategy, Gabriel said UIBL seeks to provide the "best customer experience through technology, innovation and personalised customer service."
Noting that the digital initiative will capture millennials who use various digital platforms, Gabriel said insurance can be made more accessible through focusing on the needs of distinct market segments.
Pan American vice-president (corporate regional business) Kevin Davis praised the Gabriels' innovation. "We are witnessing a massive change in how the industry operates." Davis has been in the insurance industry for the last 20 years. He said one of the fears that players in the industry have is the loss of the "interface experience" with their clients. But Davis said that experience and customer exchange is changing.
With the world now a global village, Davis opined that the local insurance industry could see more companies offering online services within the next three to five years. He said this offers "a limitless potential for tremendous growth." UWI economist Dr Roger Hosein said the Gabriels' initiative showed that opportunities exist in a recession.
"We created this recession," he said. According to Hosein, the recession was orchestrated over time by the use of endogenous policy actions. Endogenous is defined as something which has an internal cause or origin. Quoting 16th century French philosopher Jean Bodin, Hosein said, "Men of a fat and fertile soil are most commonly effeminate and cowards." He added a barren country makes men "temperate by necessity and by consequence, careful, vigilant and industrious."
Hosein said it was instructive that they started their business in 2015 at the height of the recession and that this year, it is noteworthy that they are identifying growth. Hosein disclosed that he made a living as a boy, catching crabs and later selling eggs. While he received a PhD from the University of Cambridge, he said, "I didn't learn any new economics at Cambridge," but learnt "the tricks of the trade" from catching crabs and selling eggs. After that, Hosein said he "went out into the world and started to apply the tricks of the trade," and did so intelligently at a high level.
He explained that even in the best of circumstances, growth in the country's non-energy sector will still be ten per cent less of what it was in 2015. But with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $23 billion, Hosein said TT's GDP remains the largest in the Caribbean. This provides ample opportunities, he said, for those people who are prepared to work hard, go strong and go intelligent.