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Admiral Travel Insurance - From inception, through COVID-19 and beyond.

Cosmin (INSEAD 2012) joined Admiral as an International Pricing Manager on our SPARK Leadership Program in 2012. He has had a unique journey which led him to start up and now lead the Travel Insurance department. We caught up with Cosmin to find out more about his experience.

How did you end up launching travel insurance?

My pricing experience gave me the confidence to know how to do something well, but I was looking for something a little bit broader to apply that knowledge to. That is what made me look at wider business opportunities and there was a good case for creating a travel insurance product. If you look at the travel market in terms of volumes, it's relatively small compared to motor or household, but if you look at the number of people buying it, it's around 35 million and there’s an interesting overlap in terms of profiles between our household book and potential travel book. This means that travel brings you a flow of new customers. We also had confidence in the claims data and wider research we had done. Travel insurance was the most popular product that people expressed an interest in buying from Admiral. Finally, I felt there was a lot of room to disrupt this market and challenge the status quo, which made it a really exciting challenge.

How has COVID-19 impacted our travel insurance product?

Our IT system is quite different from what you see in the market giving us a fantastic agility to adapt to changes. In the case of Covid-19, there were a few nerves in the beginning, but we addressed them as a team. We always think about the opportunities of any situation and take on the challenges as a team. After all, we are an insurance company, so we do know a little bit about risk!

We need to look at what’s happening with Covid-19 from the right perspective – this is likely a one-off event that nobody has any control over that won’t happen again for another hundred years. Covid-19 won’t make travel less attractive in the long run and it increases the awareness around the need for a good travel insurance product. In the UK, there is already a higher demand for travel insurance and customers want a good product. We have already made changes to make it better, including giving people more flexibility with regard to cancellation. It allows people to cancel without any kind of penalty and covers them for Covid-19 related medical emergencies while abroad.

The customer is always at the centre of what we do at Admiral. We have always adapted to change and disrupted the market - ever since our humble beginnings in 1993 - and that is what we will continue to do. I’m excited to see what the future brings!

You can find out more about the journeys our MBAs have taken here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.


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Admiral Life

Day in the life of our International Pricing Director.

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Peter Marissen is our International Pricing Director. He lives with his wife and 2 children in Cardiff, where his guitar collection is growing. Peter tells us more about what his average day at work involves... "Usually, my day doesn’t start off well. It’s 6am, I’m fast asleep, and a little person jumps onto the bed.Emily: Papa, I can’t sleep anymore. Me: Try. Just close your eyes. Emily: I can’t. Can I have the iPad? Me: It’s a school day. We don’t do iPads on school days. Emily: Your phone then? Me: No Emily: Mama’s phone? Me: Sleep. Please sleep.I’m not a morning person, but Emily is 6 and Harry is 3, so there is no more sleep until I leave just before 8am to do the school run. What should be a 10-minute drive takes about 30 minutes in start-stop traffic. Having the “B-I-N-G-O the dog” song on repeat in the background doesn’t make the trip feel any shorter. At drop-off I try to keep calm amongst many screaming kids until the school doors open, then I re-join the traffic jam, and with luck, I’ll make it to the office for around 9.I usually have a small bite to eat while I start up my computer. Something tasteless but virtuous, now that I’ve had my health check. They insisted on a lengthy discussion about my diet and guess what, it turns out that a bacon roll every morning may not be a great idea. So, I have cut back to once a week (ish), and on most days I end up stirring oats into my organic yoghurt. Lovely.I joined Admiral in February 1999, in the Pricing department, on the assumption that it would be a useful experience for a couple of years. I know I’m not the only one where this got out of hand a bit. At the time, the Pricing team consisted of only 5 people, which was fine as it was motor only, phone only and UK only. When, 10 years later, we looked at launching in Spain, I helped set up their Pricing and stayed involved as Balumba grew over the years. The same happened when the other non-UK operations launched, and at one point we decided that an International Pricing team could help with quality control of rate changes, communicating new Pricing ideas across the group, and training.In International Pricing we spend most of our time working with the various Pricing Teams in the group. There are always several pricing changes from our different operations that the team and I are looking at. Some are simple and require no more than a quick email, others can be time-consuming and need a fair bit of work. Communication at a distance can sometimes be a challenge, but having “Hangouts” is a great help, especially now that we are moving more towards group-wide projects and changes.The team is divided into three sub-departments: Analytics, Cross-product, and the Nursery. Analytics and Cross-product are important and growing areas that take a lot of my time. Analytics is producing some good results as we do a lot of work with the various operations and use our Data Scientists to produce models for them and at the same time each country is developing their own analytics capabilities as well.In terms of people, the nursery makes up the biggest proportion of the team. I shouldn’t say nursery, it has recently been renamed, by majority vote, into something that no-one can remember (International Analyst Development Programme, I think). The name hasn’t really taken off, despite the “No More Nursery” jar, which requires payment of 20p for every mention of the word nursery. I am a regular contributor. Anyway, in the nursery IADP, we recruit math-graduates from universities close to our non-UK operations, who spend a year or so in the team learning how to do Pricing, and then go back to hit the ground running. It makes for quite an international team and I enjoy that aspect of it.When I get home the kids are usually in the bath or getting ready for bed. Bedtime is always fun, although also chaotic, for which I invariable get the blame, perhaps with some justification.Evenings are short. There’s time for dinner, emails, and there’s always the temptation to do a few other things. But I don’t, because I know what’s going to happen at 6am tomorrow morning…"

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What you need to know about the Admiral Cycle to Work scheme

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05/08/2020

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Cycling is a great way to travel to and from work. It's quick, easy, convenient, great for the environment and great for you! Our Cycle to Work scheme is a tax-efficient employee benefit allowing our employees to make healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.Since the start of the lockdown we have seen a huge surge of orders to our Cycle to Work scheme! Bike stores and online businesses were amongst only a handful of businesses advised to stay open so the public could avoid public transport for the daily commute. At the same time, outdoor exercise was encouraged and therefore the idea of getting on a bike became increasingly appealing.Our scheme allows employees to purchase a bike without a huge upfront payment and spread the cost over manageable payments. Through our provider we can also offer a discount from the retail price of most bicycles and safety equipment with an 18 month warranty.Gareth Jones cycles daily from Barry Island to our office in the centre of Cardiff and said: "The Cycle to Work scheme has enabled me to get a very good bike at a huge discount and this has now opened up a new sport for me. I try and cycle every Sunday with a group either from work or with a group outside work."With a young family your time is limited for your own activities and hobbies, so keeping fit can sometimes take a back seat. By cycling to work you are keeping fit in a time you would have either been sitting in a car or on a train. Not only has my fitness improved but I also have a bit more in my wallet each month. Gareth Jones "Since cycling to work I am lot more conscious of what I eat and drink whilst in work as I know I will have to cycle home so I am a lot healthier but, as my colleagues might tell you, I still enjoy a biscuit or two." Steve Wright also uses the Cycle to Work scheme and cycles a number of routes ranging from eight miles to 12 miles from his home in Caerphilly to our office in Cardiff.Steve said: "I decided to take up the Cycle to Work scheme for a number of reasons. These were to get fit, finding time to keep fit with two young children is pretty hard and of course, to save money."Using the train twice a week was costing me in excess of £70 a month. Using the Cycle to Work scheme to obtain a bicycle to use was a massive benefit to allow me to have a reliable and affordable bike without the outlay at the start."Schemes like this are one of the reasons why our employees love working here.               

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