Industry multi-tasker Sam White on why brokers have an ‘important role’ to play in insurance

Brokers are “well positioned” to enhance customer experience and innovate insurance processes compared with “dry and uninspiring” insurers, says Sam White, chief executive of broker Freedom Services Group, MGA Pukka and motor claims business Action 365.

“We just don’t have a great interaction with customers at the moment,” she says.

“The process of buying insurance is clunky, the interaction with your insurer is dry and uninspiring and I think there’s a lot of areas we can improve upon. Brokers are well positioned to be able to do that, if they choose to.

“There’s a lot of really entrepreneurial brokers that will do clever, interesting things that an insurer hasn’t got the speed and nimbleness to be able to deliver. If they capitalise on that and use those strengths that they’ve got, then they’ll fly and they’ll find new ways to engage.

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Sam White

“Brokers have always had an important role in the ecosystem.”

This broker-led innovation is needed, according to White.

“I don’t think the traditional model for insurance generally has that much more shelf life left,” she says. “We all need to evolve and change.”

For White, the future of insurance, therefore, is centred on more time-based products, where insurance can be switched on and off. This is particularly pertinent after the coronavirus crisis, as many drivers left their vehicles gathering dust during the nationwide lockdown.

White notes other key influences here as the flagging new car market, home working meaning less commuting and financial hardship causing two-car households to reconsider their vehicle options.

“The idea of being able to switch your insurance on and off, particularly if we’re going to end up in rolling Covid lockdowns – there is going to be much more appeal for those kinds of policies,” she says.

With this in mind, White is launching a telematics scheme with a new binder partner in July.

“It’s something I genuinely believe is going to be a real shift in the market and we want to be part of that change, but certainly Covid has enhanced the need for it and we definitely feel that it’s the right direction to be moving in,” she adds.

White is also dipping her toes into the waters of Australian insurance with the creation of a new female-only insurance brand; the original May launch was pushed back due to Covid-19. However this is now scheduled for July.

“They don’t have the same gender directive in Australia so you can underwrite women appropriately,” White says.

Coronavirus impacts

As the owner of numerous businesses, White’s exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic has been multifaceted.

Although new business quotes dropped by up to 40% at the start of pandemic, White says that broker Freedom Services Group is “overachieving” and “on a growth spurt” as the clients that are still getting quotes are “serious buyers”.

Comparatively, her motor claims business, Action 365, has suffered as a result of the Covid-19 crisis because it depends on new claims for its revenue. With motor claims dwindling during lockdown, White says the firm took “a real hit” and she was forced to furlough staff.

However, this is changing in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions. Claims volumes were down 80% in April, White says. In May, this improved to 60% and White expects June’s figures to be only 40% or 50% less than the firm’s usual numbers.

Despite this upwards trajectory, White is still unsure what the final fallout from coronavirus will look like.

She says: “One of the concerns from an underwriting viewpoint is that will the cost of claims go up? Is it going to be difficult to get hold of parts when we come out of lockdown? How many credit hire vehicles have been dropped off on people’s driveways that we’re unaware of that aren’t necessarily being used but we’re being billed for? There’s all that stuff that is a little bit of an unknown for us.”


  • Launched Freedom Services Group in 2017-2018.
  • Launched Pukka Insure, an MGA, in 2016.
  • Launched Action 365 in 1999.