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A great deal more. Budget Direct Insurance CEO Simon Birch

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Simon Birch

What do you do when you think insurance can be smarter and better for the customer? In Simon Birch’s case, you start a company that offers excellent service at affordable prices. For Singaporeans who are looking for a great deal more.

This is the final part of our meaningful conversation with Simon Birch. We’ll ask how smart technology keeps costs down for customers. We’ll also talk about how Budget Direct Insurance was founded, and the other companies Simon respects.

1. There’s so much change in the way great companies are doing business, especially in the area of new technology. Budget Direct Insurance is already ahead of the curve, what else excites you about new technology as it relates to insurance?

Buying car insurance is not complicated. You know what you drive, how you use the car, and you know who else drives it. This is the basis of your car insurance with us. Budget Direct Insurance offers a very easy to use website. You can get a quote in 30 seconds. You don’t need to pay more money just for an agent to fill in a form for you.

Our technology also helps us reward safe drivers with lower insurance premiums. We make sure we don't penalise safe drivers by making them pay higher premiums to insure people who make multiple claims. Yes, we offer to insure everyone, but we will be cheaper for people who are safer drivers.

2. Tell it to us straight. Apart from legally required insurance for our vehicles. What insurance would you advise anyone to invest in?

Without a doubt - travel insurance. It’s your ticket home. We know you may buy Travel cover at the last minute so we make it really quick and easy for you. If things go wrong it’s the travel insurance you’ll be reaching for first. Can you afford the right medical care, can you get out of somewhere in a hurry, can you replace something if it’s lost or stolen? You can get all of this, and more, with Budget Direct Travel Insurance.

Basic cover is the biggest deal – that gets you home. After that, you only pay for what you need and how you travel. That’s much fairer than paying over the odds for a big policy, half of which you don’t want!

3. What is the biggest myth about insurance?

That all insurance companies are the same. But I think Singaporeans customers are looking for ways to buy smarter. We want great products at the right price. For example, you may want to pay more for a ticket with Singapore Airlines on a long-haul flight. But if you are flying just a couple of hours from home, a lot of Singaporeans think it’s smarter to fly with a budget airline like Jetstar. Long haul – you pay for a bit more comfort. Short haul - you want a better deal.

You shouldn’t be paying luxury hotel prices for insurance because it’s not complicated. Don’t pay for a middleman, don’t pay for things you don’t need, don’t pay for a company’s expensive CBD office space. Car and travel insurance are simple, this should be reflected in the price you pay.

4. What have you learned that will inform your decisions for Budget Direct Insurance in the next year?

We can be cheap and genuinely good. A better managed company means a better deal for our customers. We seek to understand our customers from the get-go. We empower our customer service and claims team to make decisions. The insurance process is much more effective this way.

We are also proactive in training our team to spot fraudulent claims. In short we invest in our people, manage our suppliers and pay only for what we need. No big corner offices or marble fountains. We typically work with other like-minded businesses that offer quality products at lower prices.

5. Apart from Budget Direct Insurance, which companies do you most respect and why?

We’re extremely proud to be part of the international Budget Insurance Group. It’s a fantastic, energetic group of companies that includes Compare the Market in the UK, Budget Direct Australia and Hippo in South Africa. The group is very loyal to its businesses and there’s significant value to that stability.

I also like Admiral Insurance in the UK, it’s an innovative, cost focused company. No fancy offices in London, they’re thriving in Cardiff. In Singapore, I liked the way Air Asia helped customers to travel more. I loved their idea that 'now everyone can fly.' They gave Singaporeans a better choice.

Thanks for the meaningful conversation Simon Birch, and for all the great tips!

Final Tip? Protect your car and travel plans, buy online and save with Budget Direct Insurance