Global Health Insider has the chance to talk to Mark Bromhead, the Founder and Managing Director of Village Insurance Direct. Based in Hong Kong, Village Insurance has been selling corporate and personal insurance solutions throughout Asia since 2008. Despite the financial crisis then, Village Insurance has grown tremendously with the help of referrals. Find out what motivated the insurance veteran to start his own business, and how he plans to overcome the challenges ahead in our Q&A with him below.
I used to work as a financial advisor in Hong Kong (between 2001 – 2006) and I became disillusioned with the way the industry was going. I had clients who needed insurance advice and didn’t know who to approach. I had two young children and one on the way. From my side, I wanted to create a long-term recurring income, and I thought insurance was the perfect industry from which I can do it. I set up Village Holdings (now Village Insurance) in September 2008 and a week later, Lehmans went bust. However, the company has grown from a PA and myself to 14 staff today. It is all based around service.
Medical insurance – the constant annual increase in premiums makes the policies harder and harder to keep on the books, as annual premium increases far outstrip rises in salaries. This will be a real problem for the industry in the future.
As above – I think long term the industry is going to be difficult. Increases in medical insurance premiums are going to push more and more people out of the private sector, which is exactly what Governments don’t want. Policies need to become more restricted in certain areas, such as hospitals/clinics, so that there is an alternative, well-priced solution for the average expat in Hong Kong.
Referrals. We do advertise on the internet but there is nothing like referrals. We have been here for eight years, and as I said initially, if your service levels are high you can keep your client base and gain referrals. Your book then increases year on year.
Our plans are to keep the medical insurance/general insurance book increasing but also rapidly increase our share of the life insurance market for expats, of which there is plenty of demand.
I've been following Mark's LinkedIn for quite a while and his company provides great resource for expats in Hong Kong. Good infographics too. I've also shared this with fellow Brit expats.