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King Price is expanding its kingdom

Will launch its life assurance business in the next quarter and is expanding into Europe.
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Short-term insurer King Price plans to launch its life assurance business in the next quarter and is expanding its kingdom into Europe.

King Price CEO Gideon Galloway said Africa remains a key focus for the company, with its Namibian operation currently the fastest-growing short-term insurer in that country.

Galloway said it plans to launch King Price Life in the next quarter, with a stated aim of making the life insurance space simpler and more accessible to ordinary South Africans.

“We launched 10 years ago and started from scratch. The year-on-year growth has been 40% per year. Even during Covid-19 we grew at more than 20% but when you start from zero, you grow a lot faster.

“We will be close to R4 billion in premium income in our financial year end to June, have healthy claims ratios and we were one of the first insurers that offered motor-only policies, for example, when our competitors used to bundle them all together,” he said.

Galloway said the R4 billion in premium income comprises R3 billion in premium income from its South African short-term business with the R4 billion in premium income also including its Namibian business, Denmark and its life assurance business, which in the current financial year will have generated about R400 million in premium income.

Galloway said the company’s expansion into Europe is built on its acquisition of a strategic 20% stake in Danish insurer NEXT in 2021.

He said King Price also plans to launch in Europe through the easySure brand after acquiring a licence to use the ‘easy’ name and brand, which is already entrenched internationally through listed easyJet and easyHotel.

Galloway said the intention is to expand its footprint across Europe and into other continents, and apart from its operations in Denmark, they are “busy lining up three other regions”.

“From day one, we said we wanted to be beyond South Africa’s borders, either exporting our services from here or physically being in another continent.

“We have had various opportunities throughout these 10 years. Australia was one of them, then Asia. Eventually we got the ‘easy’ brand.

“If you have a brand internationally then you can start to operate because you can imagine for us to make King Price known across Europe would be impossible with advertising in euros and to get your name out there.

“That gives us an edge and our technology gives us an edge there and then you find local partners in countries. It’s more of a franchise model than us trying to do something ourselves,” he said.

King Price deputy CEO Rhett Finch said the ambition was always to look at commercial and life assurance when the timing was right from a technology, gearing, resource and opportunity perspective.

Finch said the insurer came across Stangen and a two-year process ended up with King Price acquiring the company.

“Stangen is now part of our King Price kingdom and our launch platform strategy into life assurance.

“Stangen has a 70-year plus pedigree in the life assurance space from a systems, management teams, pricing, reinsurance relationships and know-how perspective and it was a brand,” he said.

King Price Life already has just under a million lives insured through its acquisition of Stangen and will launch into the market with the Stangen brand and a new brand called King Price livin’.

Finch said the goal is to insure five million lives within five years.

He said that with South Africa’s population of 60 million, King Price is excited about the opportunity in this market after operating “in a highly saturated red ocean of what is called the motor insurance space”.

He stressed it did not take Stangen 70 years to get to almost 1 million life assurance clients.

“It’s taken just over two years to go from 250 000 to 1 million. When we acquired the company it had about 250 000 lives insured.

“There has been about four times growth without us launching our King Price livin’ brand yet.

“It’s the brand we think is going to enable and unlock the growth over the next couple years, aligned with the tech and products and the like. We think the real potential is yet to be unlocked,” he said.

Finch said King Price’s plans for its life assurance business is to provide simple and easy-to-understand comprehensive life assurance to the market.

“It’s a simple statement but it’s been a journey to get there but I believe we have got it right.

“It’s not necessarily about making the benefit different but rather making the benefit easier to understand in terms of what you are buying and what you get out,” he said.

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