Canada’s fastest growing online insurance brokerage
With changes in our everyday habits from driving to the time we’re spending at home, now more than ever might be the best time to seek out options to save money on your insurance. Insurance brokers can help clients through these challenging times. What is an insurance broker after all? Insurance brokers help you save on your insurance rates by working together with different partners to help you find the best deal for your coverage. Whether it’s for home, auto, or business, insurance brokers will help provide advice and protect you from any type of dishonest conduct. Brokers will act on behalf of their clients and provide advice related to insurance. They can help place the coverage with the right insurance provider based on your personal budget and needs in a timely manner.
Surex is Canada’s fastest-growing online insurance brokerage and they help customers save.
Surex identified a gap in the market and scaled this business by seeing the opportunity it presented to use brokers to compare quotes from leading insurance providers in Canada.
The company started out in the small town of Magrath, Alberta and since then has grown exponentially. In the first 5 years, the company saw a revenue growth of over 1000% and was awarded one of the Top 100 of the Growth 500 from Canadian Business and Maclean’s. In 2019 again, Surex made the Growth 500 list with a 5-year revenue growth of 1071%, and it continues to grow.
The insurance brokerage started out with Lance Miller and fellow entrepreneur Matt Alston who saw an opportunity for creating a new kind of insurance business that was more than just a walk-in or brick-and-mortar store. The humble beginnings started with the two who started the company cramped in the basement of a traditional office that had no windows. Having started out with 6 full-time employees to about 120, the company offers its coverage in 6 provinces and 2 territories across Canada.
Their initial investment was only $30,000, but Alston and Miller saw the chance for this to grow into millions, and it did. In only 1 year, they moved out of that basement and began operations. Staffing is typically a big expense in online brokerages,but the investment dollars create lead-generation. Surex had minor staffing costs having changed its compensation model. Brokers are paid by 100% commission and not by salary. This model allows the company to save money on staffing by reinvesting back into the business and helping to boost rapid growth. The brokers are also motivated to focus on servicing clients focusing on retention. Brokers are also happy because they have the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want. They can work remotely and hold team meetings through online conferencing systems.
Surex leveraged their technology from the start by first seeking out software that could help them do the business that customers wanted. They ended up hiring their own developers to build their products so that they could control the customer experience. The company brought a lot of innovations and efficiencies to its processes by building its own lead score algorithm to assist with ad spend and lower acquisition costs.
The company is data-driven and in constant measurement of its performance. Surex continuously measures their sales, their position relative to competitors, and sets goals for the coming year to continue their growth. They aim to build a company that’s going to be sustainable in the long run and make business decisions in accordance with their long-term goals.
Part of their value proposition is the Canadian company’s ability to provide a “personal touch” to their clients. Each customer is paired with a dedicated licensed insurance advisor who they can contact for all their inquiries. It’s definitely not a call centre model. Once you’ve been assigned to an advisor, you can contact them directly using an individual phone number and email address so you won’t need to retell your story again over and over again. The advisor is your main point of contact throughout the process to get a quote and for any inquiries beyond that period. They are there to recommend what coverage works best for their clients and provide that personal advice. In Google Reviews, customers typically mention their own advisor’s name to recognize individual people at Surex. Even though Surex promotes a quick digital experience, the human element is a big part of their offering.
Compared to their competition, Surex wanted to bring a higher level of customer service that the average online brokerage wouldn’t always provide. Surex has branded their website and their services with the faces behind the names so that it doesn’t feel like you’re just speaking with technology, but with a real person. Ryan Kirk, VP of distribution claims that even when you’re not in the same room as a customer, it’s still possible and important to deliver a good quality customer service. It’s a matter of communication and trust that your advisor will be there for you and that’s what customers love about Surex.
8 years later, the company reached a major milestone by bringing their book size to over $100 million. The business started out as a friendship between Lance Miller and Matt Alston who saw an opportunity. Now, they strive towards giving their customers the best options by offering quotes from more insurance companies and a better service online.
However, the company is not without its challenges. Canada’s insurance market is broadly hitting a hard market which may be the situation for a while. Today, Surex is outpacing insurance carriers on their capabilities to get things done and a lot is due to legislation that they need to adhere to making it tough for them to adapt.
Lance Miller, CEO of Surex, believes that the insurance industry is bound to be affected by disruption, and that legislators should take a step back to realize the distribution that is very real to the insurance market. Things are going to be different and legislators need to be more willing to adapt their legislation to accomplish that.