F&I shifting with the times
F&I Insurance last year celebrated 21 years of business and expansion with the appointment of a new Managing Director. This move heralds continued growth in the marketplace according to Executive Director and founder, Brian Muller.
He looks back to 1999 when, after 15 years serving in the fire services and 10 years in the insurance industry, he founded the company Factory & Industrial (F&I). He saw the need for an Underwriting Manager that seamlessly combined the skills of an insurer and experienced surveyors in the insurance sector. “This shortage of expertise is still as true today as it was 21 years ago. It is definitely an area we are working hard on to improve and have partnered with Infiniti Insurance, not only as the underwriter of our motor book, but to provide internships for young people looking to get into the industry,” he points out.
Organic growth and diversification form the core of the F&I strategic approach. Two years after the company’s launch it set up as an underwriting agency specializing in fire insurance and operating in parallel with F&I’s own risk management operations in a symbiotic relationship. Six years ago, F&I broadened operations into the international market by establishing a facility through Lloyds of London in conjunction with Tysers Insurance Brokers, the oldest independent insurance brokers in London and now also a shareholder in F&I.
“F&I has grown steadily since its inception and is proud of its diversity, employing a staff complement of 40 people and operating nationally in South Africa. The business originally traded as “Factory and Industrial Risk Mangers”, rebranding its name to F&I in 2015 to cater for the diversification of the business and to focus our expertise on the general and commercial insurance broker markets, to cover industrial and manufacturing risks, hospitality, and green insurance solutions, among others,” says newly appointed Managing Director, Donovan Harvey, a finance specialist and MBA graduate with a strong insurance background.
He has been with the company since 2003 and has seen it grow from a solely Risk Management-based entity into a specialised property and motor underwriter. Donovan points to establishing a commercial motor facility with Infiniti Insurance in the SA market as a ‘huge step’ in the company’s history. “It is definitely in line with our strategic objective which is to facilitate growth and development for our enterprise and its partners, through diversifying our product offering and expanding our business into commercial motor fleets.”
Donovan states it has been a pleasure to work with Brian Muller over the years and he looks forward to the challenge of this appointment with a mission to take the company forward into a new era. “The company initiated the transition to the new generation management to reposition F&I and create a strong platform, to keep the company relevant in the ever-changing short-term insurance field.
“Our business philosophy going forward embraces the dynamics of growth through strategic partnerships which will allow us to venture into new areas, products, and markets. A pioneering spirit is as important today as in the past and relationships built on trust are what have allowed us to grow as we have done over the past 21 years. Our strategic alliance with Infiniti Insurance once again highlights the benefits of this approach.”
Infiniti Insurance Chief Executive Officer Sharon Paterson says that in non-life insurance and more specifically in the specialist insurance arena, where Infiniti plays a leading role, strategic partnerships are the cornerstone of the business model. “Successful partnerships require strong synergies, which along with shared values feature at the top of our selection criteria. The partnership then yields growth and allows for further initiatives critical to value creation. The transformational leadership of F&I has been guided by Brian Muller and Steve Emms and has been well-timed and carefully designed to give long-term momentum to the enterprise. Infiniti’s engagement with F&I Insurance signals another milestone for both companies which are now focussing on capitalising on opportunities available in the reset of 2021.
Harvey concludes by outlining his approach as head of the company. “The formula that has laid the success for F&I in the past has been around building and maintaining strong partnerships such as the one we have with Infiniti and our Lloyds underwriters and this will continue to form the foundation of how we do business. We also believe that partnering with our brokers and being easy to do business with is key to staying relevant in this new insurance climate. It is as important as being able to resource fresh, young expertise to help address the changing needs of our target market … especially in the light of new challenges facing the insurance industry from climate change to Covid 19,” he stresses.
Infiniti Insurance Limited
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