When I first sat down with Michael and Jane to discuss 0800z, I felt excited. I could see that, given my experience, I could make their good idea even better.
I have been involved in the Home Emergency sector for 20 years. In fact, I was instrumental in developing much of the UK sector that exists today. I have worked with almost every major insurer to help them create Home Emergency offerings and to make them more efficient, more competitive and more profitable. On several occasion I’ve found myself employed by someone who wanted to compete with a product I created for someone else.
I also created several Assistance Services from scratch - to be targeted at consumers under the names of existing brands. A notable example is the Home Assistance service for British Gas which is now a significant part of their customer proposition.
The years of working in just one sector has made me a true specialist. Having the opportunity to develop a new brand based in what I know so well obviously fills me with confidence. The key 0800z requirements are already like part of my everyday routine – creating repairer networks, managing supplier performance and ensuring regulatory standards are adhered to.
Today, in the UK, almost every driver has breakdown cover. Homeowners increasingly hold policies for emergencies such as boiler breakdown and burst pipes. Gadget insurance for mobile phones is growing fast and travel insurance is viewed almost as a necessity.
We have a mature market. It's ready for innovation. A new entrant can make an impact if their offer is compelling. We have given a great deal attention to ensuring that the 0800z service will be market-leading in terms of the cover, price and the service our members will experience. 0800z is the innovator that will shake up the assistance market and become a leading player.
There are more than one hundred million assistance policies arranged in the UK every year – a very large market. Our initial business target is to attract 200,000 members per year. Given what I know of the market I am sure we will quickly exceed that modest target.
It gets inside your head