Team and Culture

Our why – the team building the future of insurance

 Cece Paredes
 Cece Paredes
Cece Paredes
February 11, 2022
0 min read
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The Open team Sarith Fernando Sam Hoppe Josh Williams

At Open, we're on a mission to provide the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world. There are three unique components to our mission, each playing an important part in making insurance brilliant. We ask three of our team members, Sam, Sarith and Josh, how we bring our mission to life.

It’s likely you’ve heard of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle - that at the core of what we do and how we do it, we (as people and organisations) are driven by a purpose, cause and belief for why we exist. Often, companies are really great at talking about their what and how, but it’s rarer that you’ll hear about the why that drives them, and more importantly, what motivates their people.

This is especially true of insurance. It’s an industry commonly believed to be confusing, boring and a necessary evil —  a grudge purchase. But if we think about why insurance exists and how it came about in the first place, it’s easy to see how it’s a great proof point of a socially-driven business model.

If we strip it of complexity, insurance is about putting small amounts of money in a pot. When a few of those people get unlucky, the pot can pay to look after those people and get them back on their feet. Beautifully simple, right? We think so too.

Our why at Open

The reason we reflect on the roots of insurance is because it drives what we’re doing at Open to shape the future of it. We’re here to build and offer brilliant insurance, and our mission is to provide the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world.

There are three unique components to our mission, each playing an important part in making insurance great for our partners and customers. What’s exciting is that we have about 90 different ways our mission is brought to life, one for every team member we have at Open. In this blog post, we ask Sam (Chief of Staff), Sarith (GM of Analytics) and Josh (Quality Assurance Specialist) what bringing our mission to life looks like for them.

Our mission is to provide the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world.

Fastest insurance

Think about how easy it is to buy a new pair of shoes online using your credit card. Or sending money overseas to a friend using a service like PayPal. In comparison, insurance isn’t known for being speedy - it’s highly intermediated, paper-based and completely isolated from consumers’ digital worlds.

This is a big aspect of insurance we’re wanting to transform. And we’re making it faster at every stage – before policy buying, during the quote process and when someone needs to make a claim.

AI and Machine Learning are making this possible for us at Open, and it’s a big part of what makes our insurance different. Dr. Sarith Fernando, GM of Analytics, leads the team making our processes data-driven and more personalised for customers. One way we make insurance faster is by uncovering insights that reduce the number of questions we ask to calculate someone’s insurance quote. Or minimising confusion by recommending specific insurance products based on the data we already know about them – with the goal to make sure that person is buying cover that’s best suited to their lifestyle.

Then, when it comes to making a claim, we want to make it as frictionless as possible, “when people need to make a claim it’s usually a stressful time for them,” says Sarith, “that’s why we’ve built features like 24/7 claims processing so we can use data and information to process quickly and efficiently for a faster resolution.”

Dr. Sarith Fernando, GM of Analytics

Behind the scenes at Open, our entire team is designed to build fast insurance. Sam Hoppe, Chief of Staff, supports our executive team, making sure our strategy and execution align with our mission.

“All of our technology is built in-house by our own engineers who live and breathe building a positive customer experience. That gives us an edge because if we see something that’s broken or needs to be fixed, it doesn’t take us 18 months. It means we’re able to move quickly and be more agile to help solve problems quickly.”  - Sam Hoppe, Chief of Staff

For everyone at Open, providing the fastest insurance means minimising the time for customers to buy, manage and claim, and making it easy for our teams to complete tasks that can’t be automated. Because why make insurance more complicated than it needs to be?

At the best price

When we talk about being the best-priced insurance out there, we mean the greatest value for money. This is all about offering customers insurance that works harder for them – but how?

Insurance is an information business, and to make great decisions - like who to cover and for how much - you need a lot of data. For Sarith and his team, data is a goldmine that informs ways we can present a better price to customers. By seeing a clearer picture of an individual person based on their behaviour and insurance history (for example, how many times they’ve claimed in the past) and even forecasting their likelihood of claiming in the future, we can provide them with more personalised products and prices, rather than offering them a price that’s off the shelf.

You’ll see this personalisation and flexibility throughout our products - Pay as You Drive car insurance options; discounts for smart home users; and making it possible for our partners to share data with us to surface better prices and offers for their customers. This is what we mean by smarter, better-priced insurance.

But just because we’re well priced doesn’t mean we compromise on customer service. Josh Williams, Quality Assurance Specialist, is a part of the team making sure our customers receive a great support experience if they need it. We call it our “no excuses'' insurance strategy - our customers come first, no matter what.

Vannessa Hennessy, Senior Manager, Positive Impact & Employee Care (left) with Josh Williams, Quality Assurance Specialist in our Sunshine Coast office
“People often associate the best price with poor service or the best price with missing out on something. A big part of my role is changing the way people think about insurance companies.” - Josh Williams

Part of Josh’s role is responding to every Trustpilot review we get. Every. Single. One. This includes responding to negative reviews and listening to that person’s concerns, something that surprises a lot of customers. “I love when we speak to someone who’s reviewed us negatively and they change their mindset because we’ve been able to have a good, transparent chat and come to a resolution,” shares Josh.

Our vision to be best-priced means delivering the brilliant insurance customers deserve. As Sam puts it, “we don’t claim to be the cheapest and have the most basic products in the market. We’re here to give our customers great value and we want to help them get great cover.”

For the world

Our mission for the world means two significant things to us. Firstly, it’s setting our sights on bringing simple, powerful insurance to customers across the globe. Secondly, it’s doing so while measuring and improving our impact on the world.

Since launching in Australia back in 2016, we’ve proven that what we do at Open and Huddle works. We’ve sold more than 90,000 car, home and travel policies to date and have partnered with some well-known brands like ahm, Energy Australia, WeMoney and Telstra. Our next challenge becomes replicating our business model in new markets. Thanks to our Series B raise, we’re expanding operations to New Zealand and the UK while growing our team rapidly at the same time.

We also want to have a positive impact on what we’re doing. At Open, we believe businesses can, and should, be a force for good. As a certified B Corporation, we don’t take this lightly. “It means everything to us, from sustainability to diversity and inclusion,” says Sam, “being a B Corp is in our company constitution and that goes to show you how important it is to us.”

Sam Hoppe, Chief of Staff, with Jason Wilby, Co-founder and joint Chief Executive

When we say we’re dedicated to making a positive impact, we mean it in every sense you can think of – including who we partner with, what suppliers we choose, how we treat our team and customers.

For Josh, who spends most of his time interacting with our customers, giving them a great insurance experience is what he finds most rewarding, “our whole ethos – everything we’re about at Open is to look after people. We’re here to change what insurance should be, what people’s perceptions are of it, and I think we’re doing a damn good job.”

Being a B Corp is also about making a pledge to do better for the wider community, the planet and our environment. At Open, we’re lucky to have a team that loves coming together to do good. Throughout the year we engage in beach clean-ups, tree plantings and other community projects. In November, Yasmine led a fundraiser for DV Safe Phone, a nonprofit that provides cellphones to victims of domestic violence, and raised $626 in total from our team. Our Queenstown team adopted a plot on the Ben Lomond track with the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group, cutting down an invasive pine species so native tussock and beech forest can thrive.

Here to build brilliant insurance

After speaking with Sarith, Sam, and Josh about their motivation for being at Open, their why is clear: it’s everyday people who deserve simpler, more powerful insurance cover. This is the core of our mission.

"When you hear the story of someone who's had a car crash, for example, that's changed the course of their lives, all the way to someone who's had a chipped windscreen that we've been able to fix in two hours – those sorts of things remind us why we're here," shares Sam.

At the end of the day, insurance is about people. For years, the perception about the industry has stayed unchanged, but we're here to show everyone that insurance can truly be brilliant.

The team building the future of insurance - we're Open!

We couldn’t finish this blog without asking our interviewees why they’re at Open and what drives them.

Sam, Chief of Staff: I think our mission is going to really change the insurance industry in a way that needs changing. The people I work with day-to-day are so fantastic – it makes work really exciting and everyone’s really passionate about what we do. And while insurance traditionally isn't sexy, I think we're on our way to changing that.

Josh, Quality Assurance Specialist: For me, being here is not just about being a good insurer. It’s also about being a good human. We’re open. And honest. There's no trickery involved. We're just good honest people offering good honest products.

Sarith, GM of Analytics: I've always wanted to do work where I could make a difference, and that's what I'm doing at Open – using data, Machine Learning and AI to make a meaningful impact on the world. We’ve started the insurance revolution and I’m proud to be a part of it.

We’re hiring across our hubs in Sydney, the Sunshine Coast, Auckland, Queenstown and London. Join us and let’s build the future of insurance together. View our open roles here.

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