Fast Cover Travel Insurance lands Hollard deal: “It’ll help us accelerate,” says founder

Dean Van Es, founder and CEO of Fast Cover

Noticeboard | Startup

By James Harkness

Australian travel insurance provider Fast Cover has secured global financial services business Hollard as its new underwriter. The deal marks the first time the global financial services business has partnered with a specialised travel technology firm.

In a statement announcing the partnership with FastCover, Hollard’s CEO Richard Enthoven said his company is “always looking to work with true entrepreneurs who are committed to improving their sector”. He continued, “We immediately identified a shared vision with Dean and his team, and were impressed by their drive to bring travel insurance into the future. We look forward to working closely with Fast Cover to pioneer new ways of engaging and supporting Australian travellers, including the potential development of innovative models that will positively disrupt this space.”

Meanwhile, Fast Cover CEO and founder Dean Van Es said the partnership will enable his company to “powerfully increase transparency, rapidly respond to changing market realities with new technology products and continue to improve the experience for the traveller”. He added, “Hollard takes us one step closer to…combining technology and data analysis to better understand how people travel, what they want, and how to make travel insurance work best for everyone.”

In conversation with with Dynamic Business, Van Es spoke further about the deal as well as his motivation for launching Fast Cover in 2010 and its success to date.

DB: How did you secure Hollard as an underwriter?

Van Es: They’re very approachable, we gave them a call and had a chat.  From the start, it was clear that their philosophies aligned closely with ours.  They are a very entrepreneurial company and have grown from two people in an office to become a large part of the Australian insurance market.  They look for win-win and understand that looking after the customer is key.

Our beginnings were very similar, we built Fast Cover one policy at a time, doing our best for each and every traveller we’ve engaged with. The courtship with Hollard evolved over around 18 months where we got to know each other and in the end, it was obvious that it was the right fit for both parties.

DB: What does Hollard’s backing say about Fast Cover?

Van Es: It means a lot – it’s an acknowledgement from a respected peer that we’ve built a strong business and that we understand the market we’re in.  There’s a lot of very capable people at Hollard and having access to their experience and expertise will allow us to accelerate Fast Cover’s mission of making insurance fast and simple.

DB: What value will Hollard derive from the partnership?

Van Es: Hollard will benefit from the 7 years of experience Fast Cover has in the travel insurance industry.  We’ve worked closely with Hollard to set up a claims team and process that removes many of the traditional pain points and eliminates unnecessary friction.

DB: What motivated you to launch Fast Cover?

Van Es: I launched Fast Cover because I thought the whole insurance experience could be improved.  I was sick of seeing blue and white complicated websites full of words and tables.  There’s an art to saying something with the least amount of words required and presenting information in a way that’s accessible to everyone, large insurance companies seem to get this wrong every time.

Fast Cover is bright Orange, we’re fun and when you call, you’ll speak to a happy Australian who enjoys their job. Planning a holiday is a fun process and we designed our process to align with this.

The bar we measure ourselves against is this: If a traveler ever has an experience with us that in any way resembles calling your phone company, then we’ve let that traveller down and have a problem to fix. We’re constantly working to reduce friction, we see ourselves as a travel enabler rather than a company that sells insurance.

DB: Are you able to quantify Fast Cover’s success to date?

Van Es: We focus on doing a great job for travellers, which starts internally with our staff.  Happy staff equals happy travellers.  We choose our staff carefully and look after them. We regularly review our processes, then fix and improve them where required. We don’t operate a traditional hierarchy, ideas come from every person in Fast Cover and are all given equal weight. We focus on fixing the small things.  When you fix 100 small things that translates to one very large thing. As a consequence of all of these things, we’ve enjoyed double digit year-on-year growth including 35% in the past year alone.

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