Even the most confident navigators could doubt their sense of direction when stepping off Lloyd’s Avenue for their first visit to AFL’s headquarters in London. But it’s no accident that AFL’s offices are about as far removed from the traditional stuffy image of most businesses connected with insurance or financial services. Full of bright colours, coffee machines, inviting armchairs and tables made for break-out meetings, and the atmosphere buzzes with team members moving about, chatting and sharing ideas. In fact we’ve just expanded, and now occupy the entire second floor of 8 Lloyd’s Avenue, as well as the ground floor.
Ties are not required in here, there are no fixed phones, no fixed desks, and no fixed hours – you can rock up, open your laptop and work where you want. And you don’t have to wait until you’ve hit 40 to be promoted, you just need a good idea and the self-discipline and motivation to see it through, and learn from those around you. In fact, it looks and feels more like a technology start-up than an insurance broker. And yes, there are even plans for mindfulness training in the close future.
As well as offering the kind of workplace flexibility that you might expect to find in Google, AFL also offers the same approach to new ideas. This is because the company itself is actively seeking out insurtech start-up ideas and businesses to invest in and accelerate through its Incubator division.
It’s certainly no secret that the insurance industry needs to modernise, both in terms of perceptions and attractiveness to the next generation of talent, and in terms of its actual processes and dynamism, which are still archaic to the point of disbelief in some areas. While there may be good reasons why some classes of business are not currently electronically placed, there are no good reasons why all classes of insurance business should not be electronically processed, for instance.
This is just one example of why AFL is attracting insurtech start-ups to its Incubator unit, from where they can access expertise, insights and to help accelerate their business.
The idea is also to incorporate the latest insurtech into AFL’s own processes as well as growing individual insurtech businesses in their own right – on the front line, matching ideas with backers.
AFL also operates in a specialist niche supporting technology start-ups in general, outside of the insurtech sphere. We are proud to blaze a trail creating innovative new insurance products to empower ground-breaking business models in the sharing economy and on-demand sectors. Current clients include new app-based on-demand doctor service Qure, and short-term letting start-up Under the Doormat.
Quite simply we believe in practicing what you preach – not sitting back and watching start-ups struggle to get off the ground, and simultaneously complaining about slow progress!
Some may roll their eyes while reading this; others, especially outside the industry, may still think that the future of insurance is an endless repeating pattern of grey suits working unrelentingly 08:00 to 18:00 within a strict, linear hierarchy that sneers at the next generation and their fresh thoughts and ideas. Not a bit of it, we’re leading the change.