Steve is CEO and Co-Founder of InsurTech start up, Inzsure, based from Singapore.
Inzsure uses a digital platform to put corporate customers back in command of the insurance purchase decision.
Blockchain-based technology based on smart contracts rooted in ethereum allow secure, supercharged, procurement and claim settlement transactions with minimal friction, zero delay and at no cost to the corporate insured.
Steve also provides risk and insurance support to a select pool of global businesses based from Asia.
He has 30 years of experience and 15 years with P&L responsibility.
Managing Director or equivalent for five companies in four countries including two previous start ups.
Based in Asia for most of his career with experience in dozens of countries globally, Steve brings a broad-based approach to the management of both risk and opportunities.
1. Please share a bit about what you do.
Thanks and thanks for the chance Adrian to chat today.
I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Inzsure.
Inzsure is a commercial insurance platform.
What we do is to make quality insurance markets available to commercial buyers in the SME space so that they can get the best values through our platform.
The platform is brand new, build native on block chain and we’ll be launching later this year.
2. What’s your first pay check?
Actually my first pay check was a great fun job; I used to work for Hertz Car Rental.
I was a driver for them when I was seventeen; I just passed my test, working in my home city of Nottingham and I got to drive pretty well every type of car they have on the forecourt, doing deliveries, backward and forward, but the pay was awful.
I think I got about, I don’t know, 30 pound a week, something like that.
3. What were you doing before starting this business?
I’ve spent most of my career on the buy side of insurance and risk management for big companies.
I used to be the head of risk for Resort World Sentosa in Singapore, so basically helping with things like the risk surrounding an aquarium with dolphins, Universal Studios a casino, hotels and things like that.
Before that, I was head of risk, legal, compliance and insurance for Cathay Pacific based out of Hong Kong and before that I did various jobs for Jardine Matheson so I’ve been in Asia for about twenty years.
4. How did the idea for your business come about?
Well I think having worked on the ‘buy side’ for large customers for a long time, I have experienced first-hand some of the frustration and difficulty with buying and managing insurance.
For some time now, I’ve been thinking about how we might make that experience a little bit better for the customer.
It was fortunate that I met a couple of amazing Co-Founders, Robin Lee and John Lloyd who could help deliver the technical solutions for my aspiration.
5. What sacrifices have you had to make to be an entrepreneur?
Well I think sacrifice might be the wrong way round to put it.
I have always been a little bit uncomfortable being a career man, in one company, so I have always looked for new things to do, different things to do.
For me it hasn’t really been a sacrifice becoming an entrepreneur, but more of a dream come true.
I have really aspired to be an entrepreneur all of my life and I have set up various different companies at different times to deliver my ideas.
However, this is by far the most exciting opportunity I have come across personally.
6. How did you get funded?
We’re going through the initial process of funding at the moment for this venture, where looking to take investment from individuals and angels at this stage.
We are putting the book together over the next couples of month really, so if anyone else would like to get involved, you know, don’t hesitate – Please let us know.
7. How do you go about marketing your business?
The business of insurance is quite old fashioned, so a lot of it is built on historically on relationships.
The trust principle is something that’s important, but in reality is poorly served by the existing model where the intermediary usually sells the product that offers the best return to them rather than the best product for the customer.
What we’re looking to do is something quite different.
We are an online platform, with information provided for the first time through mobile devices as well as through a browser with a helpful and easy to use chatbot interface.
So I think our marketing is going to be very much focused in the initial stages on companies who are more in line with that way of thinking.
That will probably be tech companies, or tech focused companies and start-ups.
For these types of companies the marketing will have to suit their needs.
So there will be a lot of digital marketing and then rather than sales people.
We’ll likely to have a number of sales ambassador who help steer people towards the chat bot solution we’re building in to the platform to deliver the first hand sales.
8. Describe/outline your typical work day?
Well for me, my work day start quite early.
I’ve three kids so I tend to get up early about 5.30 or 6 o’clock and then it’s straight onto the email and social media to see what’s been happening overnight in Europe and the States.
I try and swim every morning so I take a break once I help the kids get ready and off to school and have a swim but then it tends to be pretty well full on through the rest of the day.
Most of my days have several meetings; I tend to go to lots of different locations.
There’s nothing I find more tedious than sitting in an office all day so I tend to spend lot of time out and about meeting people, preferably in coffee shops and restaurants.
Then obviously you need a little quiet corner to get some work done and again I usually find coffee shops where I can grab a quiet corner to do that.
The end of the day should be around six or seven o’clock for me, I don’t tend to work late in the evenings, so I can spend a bit of time with the kids.
But because I do work with people in Europe and the States, I do tend to make a few late night call between eight and ten o’clock and then early to bed.
So not really the life of a party animal but you know, I’m a family man.
I spend a lot of times with my kids and get a large amount of satisfaction that whenever I can.
9. What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
I think the proudest moment so far is the fact that, I’m delighted to have found two such brilliant Co-Founders to work with.
It was just wow; the light bulb comes on every time I chat through this business model with my Co-Founders.
I’m just really happy that we have such complimentary skills.
I’ve been working alongside the insurance industry for a long time and my Co-Founders are very much from the technology space, from the start-up space, and from blockchain.
It’s the technology we need to deliver this business.
It is a technology business and that’s how we’re going to continue to grow – it just happens to be focused on insurance.
10. What was the lowest point for you in this business?
Well so far, there’s been no low point so I’m just having a brilliant time.
11. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
I think that’s a really difficult one to answer.
I would say it’s not one particular person.
What’s really interesting is if you look at what we learn at school, then look at what’s taught at college, it’s all about how to conform, it’s about how do you fit within the parameters that other people have sat.
Actually the people who have inspired me the most are the people who say “Okay I recognise those parameters and I can see some merits in them but I going to step right outside of that and do something completely different”.
It’s people who take those steps, who take that leap of faith and look at the world in a very different way – those are the people who really make changes and can build businesses or change lives.
So those are my heroes, the people who sort of step away from the normal, step away from conformity and dare to do something different.
12. If you go back in time to speak to your twenty year old self, what would you tell him?
I would tell him to do something a bit different, a bit sooner.
I think we all have this aspiration of a career, building something in a particular area.
But I now believe having the courage to step away from those formal structures, having the courage to work out your own perspective and where you going to go.
I would say to the twenty year old, yes keep working, work hard, but never be scared to step outside the boundary of what you’re comfortable with.
13. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
I would say the worst piece of advice I ever got was almost everything I heard from any investment adviser, ever.
I wish I had known this when I was twenty – the whole thing about if someone really trying to sell you something hard, you got to think about why that is, why aren’t they buying it themselves if it’s that marvellous?
It took me a while to learn this, I got burnt a lot.
These days I tend to get a bit cynical when people start selling me things and I ask a lot of question because to be honest, I definitely made some serious mistakes and paid the price for that.
14. What’s your business focus for this year?
Our business focus this year is to get funded and then grow like crazy.
15. And what’s the productivity tip you swear by?
I am now totally committed to being a mobile worker and actually I probably spend over eighty percent of my time working through a mobile device, usually an iPhone.
I think being able to do almost everything – with a few exceptions – through a mobile device means that I don’t really have wasted time.
I can get on with stuff pretty well anywhere.
That takes a bit of mental discipline but it also means that I don’t waste time.
When I want to work, I work.
When I want to play, I can play.
I have the time to do that.
16. Is there an app or tool you can’t live without?
That would have to be everything connected with Google.
So the whole Google suite and all the associated tools are now a fundamental part of our life and it’s difficult for me to imagine operating in the way I do without them.
I’m also a social media nerd so Twitter, Linkedin Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr apps are all critical too