The Australian insurance industry is an interesting one (stay with me!). It’s long been characterised by the big players, the general insurers who have been there for as long as we can remember. The ones that our parents and their parents stayed with out of loyalty (and rightly so) and carefully amassed their no claim bonuses and long term discounts while covering all of their worldly belongings in case something were to go wrong.
The beauty of Australian consumerism is that we tend to listen to our friends, family and colleagues. I can recall when I purchased my first car my father took me to the local insurer’s office (can you believe that!) to get a quote and insure my new (well it wasn’t new let me tell you) asset.
I stayed with that insurer until they didn’t want to insure me anymore – something about past driving infringements and claims, along with a liberal mention of the modifications that now found pride of place inside, outside and under my vehicle. I still remember trying to convince the lovely lady on the counter that my wheels were actually only 8 inches wide not the 10 that they had quoted when they measured what was the bag of the tyre rather than the rim, but I digress…
Over the years, the insurance industry has split into factions; general insurers, niche insurers and what I like to call emergent insurers. Niche insurers, as the name suggests, make it a point to target a very specific type of demographic, vehicle or hobby and put together the best product for the needs of their target market. We have seen and some of us may have experienced the services of companies that specialise in recreational boating, collectable vehicles, high risk high performance vehicles and even motorcycles or specific age groups.
Emergent insurers on the other hand are focused on a customer type rather than vehicle or conveyance; there’s been an increase of companies that offer products for the price conscious consumer by offering very low premiums for a different/reduced level of service or coverage.
Both of these types of insurers have seen great growth over the years and have serviced a customer need. All the while, the general insurers have continued their expansion through diversification of products and a growing population.
So why would you even consider splitting one or more of your insurance products from the “package deal” you get from your general insurer? Well, for one, a tailored product is just that; tailored to your needs. Every day we speak to customers who thank us for offering things like:
- A clear position on where you’re covered,
- A sum insured that adds your modification and accessory value to the value of your vehicle,
- Generous portable valuables cover,
- Off-Road Recovery cover (even though most people still can’t believe it),
- A Caravan & Camper Trailer product that covers you off road, has laid up cover and a tremendous towing benefit.
A general insurer won’t be as specific on these items because the focus isn’t there. For them it’s a volume game both from a policy sales position, right through to dealing with claims. These are not criticisms, the products are set to appeal to as wide a proportion of the market as possible and they serve their purpose very well.
A niche insurer is there to service a part of the market. In Club 4X4’s case, it’s the Off-Road Touring Enthusiast. Everything from wording on documents, through to product design, claims processes and marketing are all developed and thought of for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts.
Where our internal thinking has been less than ideal, we’ve had excellent feedback from the market be it on social media, forums or various events and club meetings we attend.
Yes, at times it may cost you a bit more of the folding stuff, but ponder this question: When you’ve put your truck on its side and done some damage to your scrub bars how would you explain that to a claims department in a general insurer? Or worse yet, if you’ve damaged your rig and need recovery in the Victorian High Country, how would you help them understand where you are?
Do you really want to risk finding out?