A new life insurance company that will enable policyholders to donate their first premium each year to philanthropy was launched in Johannesburg on 12 March 2015.
Different Life aims to make a significant difference to how business is done in South Africa. Its co-founders, brothers Philip and Atholl Tomlinson, believe that a company which makes a substantial social impact can change the face of business in South Africa, where good business sense is combined with good social sense.
With their innovative start-up financial services firm, they also want to give policyholders the opportunity to change the lives of others by contributing to a philanthropic activity.
To ensure significant philanthropic activity on a sustainable and on-going basis Different Life developed the Different Donation: the first premium of every life insurance policy purchased from Different Life, as well as each anniversary premium in subsequent years, will be credited to the policyholder’s account on a crowdfunding philanthropy platform, Different.org. Policyholders then choose a project listed on the platform to which they want to donate their premiums.
Different Life is structured as an internet start-up company with its website as the primary sales platform and is aimed at the emerging, technology-savvy consumer.
As the company’s business model is technology based, customers will be able to buy a comprehensive range of insurance policies from start to finish online. From getting a quote to purchasing a policy, the whole process has been optimised to be friendly and easy to use.
“The technology-based approach and bespoke online platform means that costs will be kept to a minimum which in turn ensures that premiums will be very competitive,” explains founder and CEO Philip Tomlinson.
In addition to Life and Disability Cover up to a maximum of R10 million, Different Life offers Salary Protection of up to R90,000 per month and Critical Illness Cover of up to R5 million.
Different Life has taken steps to ensure that the company’s products are simple, flexible, transparent, and easy to understand. The underlying principle is that if you were honest during the application process, Different Life will pay: there is no fine print that will limit the company’s commitment to clients.
Another innovation by the group is that policyholders who refer someone to Different Life and they buy a policy as a result, will automatically be rewarded with another Different Donation to donate on the Different.org site.
Joining Philip as CEO and Atholl as Chief Technology Officer is Luthando Mtshaulana as Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Lester as Chief Marketing Officer and a team of IT professionals. The executives have a combined experience of nearly 50 years in the insurance and technology sectors.
Different Life’s products are underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer, part of the Old Mutual Group, who in turn are reinsured by Hannover Re.
Different Life’s aim is to maximise impact, rather than profit. The Different.org platform will be subject to an annual review by external auditors to confirm that internal controls and business processes are ensuring that 100% of donations received are passed on to the designated projects.
KEY COMPANY DIFFERENTIATORS
· Philanthropy: Different.org – the business gives you the opportunity to feel good about buying life insurance by demonstrating the immediate positive impact your Different Donation makes, at no extra cost to you. In addition, the level of corporate giving is substantially higher than SA business in general (10% of pre-tax profit for Different Life vs. 1% of PAT contained within the BEE codes and as a general rule of thumb in SA business).
· Distribution: The company’s distribution model is entirely digital, leveraging technology to simplify and streamline the process of buying life insurance. No more paperwork, and you can get a quote within minutes through an online application.
· Technology: Innovative use of state of the art technology. The business can be thought of as a tech start-up company, with cutting-edge, highly efficient systems. This includes the use of LiveChat to support sales.
· Disclosure process: The technology used creates a bespoke set of medical underwriting questions for each individual customer. This – together with straightforward, clear and comprehensive upfront disclosures – means that Different Life policyholders can have complete confidence that claims will be paid.
· Client empowerment: Different Life empowers clients to understand the products fully. There is no fine print – the process ensures that clients have read and understood the contents of the contract before they buy.