PUBLISHED 21 MAY 2014 20.35
Pantaenius powers ahead
Launching in the local market just 18 months ago, Pantaenius is making inroads in insurance.
Text Jeni Bone
Images Jeni Bone
With the positioning statement of “providers of yacht insurance for yachtsmen by yachtsmen”, and the tagline "Come what may", Pantaenius Sail & Motor Yacht Insurance is staking a claim in the premium market and growing their share through word of mouth and a product that is “utterly different”.
On the Gold Coast for the ASMEX conference, of which they are major sponsors, the Pantaenius crew, including John McCurdy, managing director of Pantaenius UK, and James MacPhail, Managing Director of Australian operations are enthused with their progress over the past 18 months.
“We have been in the local market for 18 months and in that time, have grown the business to around 1,300 clients,” says McCurdy.
“The rate of growth is around 150 to 175 new clients each month, so we are very satisfied with that,” adds McPhail. “Last year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show had phenomenal impact for us and we’re hoping to build on that this year.”
And while the brand may be new to Australian shores, it has been around since 1973 in its current form, and involved in shipping and insurance for around 120 years.
“With globalisation, our brand is very strong, and very familiar to people who travel,” says McCurdy.
The group, based at The Spit on Sydney’s northside, has a staff of seven and prides itself on a unique product, devised by boaties for boaties.
“When you call us with your insurance needs, you can be sure we know what you’re standing on. Some of our competitors don’t know one end of a boat from another!” quips MacPhail. “That has become a very important issue for our clients. Boating people want to deal with people who understand their requirements.”
MacPhail describes the market Pantaenius is targeting as “the middle market space”, referring to cruiser/racers, your typical Club sailor.
“We are attracting clients mostly through word of mouth and our online presence. Sailors are very active online. There is a real connection there with wanting news and event information. Word of mouth is important to us too, with both power and sail, as our clients refer others based on their experience with us.”
“We describe ourselves as agents, or cover holders, a mega-broker,” explains McCurdy. “We are unique in the fact that our product is designed and created by us. We don’t have a diversified focus, we specialise in power and sail boats.”
Key to the brand’s local success is its “completely different product”, which arrived in the marketplace at precisely the right time.
“We arrived post-Queensland storms, and people had been frustrated with some of the established insurers,” explains McCurdy. “We came in with a new product and people had an appetite for it.”
Pantaenius’ All Risk Policy is dependent on an agreed fixed value, rather than market value. Some of the other unique features include new for old, clauses for wear and tear and a range of perils other insurers don’t cover.
The company’s goal for 2014 and beyond is expansion in the premium end of the market. “There are around 55,000 potential clients in the category we specialise in,” says MacPhail. “There’s plenty of room for growth.”