2020 is a year likely none of us will ever forget. Covid-19, social distancing, a world in quarantine, and....murder hornets?
It was a painful year to witness as the pandemic caused irreversible economic and social distress, as well as the loss of so many lives. As an insurance company, we did our best to buckle our bootstraps and take action to help those affected by covid-19. And we did that the best way we knew how – by providing people with the safety net that is insurance.
Coming into 2020, we had big plans. We had our AI working, we set up our new insurance company in Anguilla, and most importantly, our existing business hit breakeven.
In early January, we met as a board and decided we needed to grow fast and get distribution sorted. Our idea for solving this was to buy a company that already had great traction and distribution to leverage our insurance company. Only one challenge remained– how to find a company(s) to acquire!
By the end of January, we had already found a couple of businesses to talk to. We were moving fast… In February, we started to grow more concerned about this whole Coronavirus thing and we’re re-thinking our travel to other countries. Travel is a big part of our business but suddenly, we had to pull back the reins.
In March, the UK started to slow down and we suddenly realized that all of our AI and tech development was focused on the auto industry in some shape or form. The auto industry was hit hard by Covid and it continued to suffer throughout the year with slow runs and car plants being shut down.
At the height of the summer, we faced more business challenges as the pandemic slowed down decisions and growth because regulators were taking more time to approve. Some of our workers wouldn't work from home, so we had to cancel growth plans. Many of our customers cut back on life insurance and other covers because of lost jobs and needing to prioritize their money elsewhere.
We had to invest to cover shortfalls and take action to manage costs, but we have slowly been able to get things under control.
However, from a business standpoint, Covid-19 did bring some benefits. Starting Google Meet-Ups and Zoom calls all the time meant less traveling, and more working from home. This gave us more time to nurture our relationships within the company. Even though everything was virtual, it seemed we were having more meetings face-to-face than ever before. Our company culture grew stronger as a result. It also enabled us to focus all of our time and attention on an acquisition. We began putting our proposal together in April, and by the end of June the whole process was complete – we had acquired MicroEnsure.
We grew from 25 employees to 250 employees practically overnight!
Covid has also brought about more focus on the benefits of insurance. Globally, insurance has risen to the top as a solution and a need. Although people may not have it for pandemic crises, they now understand its potential to protect them against risk.
Risk management is in the news every day, which is a great opportunity for more people to become educated about the insurance industry. It is one of the silver linings from this year, and we don’t intend to waste it! We are going to continue to build on this new customer interest and expand our services.
Lastly, this time has really shown us the importance of having an established network of contacts and partners. We were able to call on people we already knew, and schedule Zoom calls or meetings via Microsoft Teams. We were able to put deals in place quickly and easily.
Since July, our main focus has been integrating the merged companies together and developing a strong culture. With co-workers and colleagues all over the world, some of us have had to adjust our alarm clock wakeups from 7AM to 5AM in order to coordinate and join meetings. We also split up into two teams and started a running competition, which was a lot of fun. It proved to be a great way to motivate everyone to get moving, get more fresh air, and keep our spirits high (admittedly, we also enjoy a little trash talking to each other – we get a bit competitive here at Micro Insurance.)
We do miss traveling, whiteboard sessions, and late night pizzas in the office, but we are grateful for all the good that has come during this time.
It’s amazing how fast we can move and what we can get done. Our new normal is definitely very different than it was this time last year, but we now know the true extent of our resilience. We are clear-headed and focused towards our never-ending mission to provide insurance to as many people as possible worldwide.