The Discovery headquarters in Sandton. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
The Discovery headquarters in Sandton. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

In another sign of its global aspirations, financial services behemoth Discovery has announced a partnership with French mutual insurance group Covea to launch motor vehicle insurance in the UK.

The new offering called VitalityCar, which will draw on the expertise developed by the group’s local arm, Discovery Insure,  will officially be launched in a few months and represents the group’s first partnership in short-term insurance outside SA. Discovery expects to announce many similar partnerships in other markets soon.

“Expanding our business and launching car insurance is a natural next step for Vitality in the UK,” says Discovery Vitality UK CEO Neville Koopowitz.

Vitality UK has 1.4-million members across its Life, Health and Invest offerings.

Covéa owns and operates an established, mid-sized short-term insurance business in the UK through its Provident brand. The company was chosen for its “like-minded” telematics-based approach to rewarding improved driver behaviour. 

Covéa insurance CEO James Reader is excited to partner with Vitality which he considers one of the most trusted brands in the UK.

The Vitality proposition delivers genuine innovation in the private car insurance market through their shared value and rewards-based approach, based on a deep understanding of their members’ needs,” says Reader. 

Insure, which covers 269,000 cars in SA and generates more than R5bn in premium income annually, will export much of the intellectual property it has developed locally insofar as it relates to telematics, the technological platform, telematics and rewards programmes that will underpin the new venture.

“The partnership with Covéa will bring scale quickly and we will benefit from their local knowledge in a very competitive insurance market,” says Discovery Insure SA CEO Anton Ossip.

Discovery estimates the UK motor insurance market is nine times larger than SA’s but has a number of differentiating factors that any new offering must adjust and adapt to. Besides the obvious one, climate, purchasing behaviour is greatly influenced by aggregators that allow consumers to compare prices from a range of insurance providers.

Private insurers also cover liabilities as a result of bodily harm, which is not the case in SA (this is covered by the Road Accident Fund).

Discovery will market the product directly in addition to using aggregators. Financial details regarding the partnership are expected to be disclosed at the group’s forthcoming results presentation. 

thompsonw@businesslive.co.za

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