Four years ago, when Chris Powell, Managing Director and CEO of Integrity started building Integrity Life, he began with nothing. No capital, no business, no systems, no people, no brand and no license. Life insurance companies require massive capital to comply with regulations and in addition there are stringent legal and compliance requirements. As if starting one business wasn’t a monumental enough task, he started two. In addition to creating a life-insurer, he also launched a technology company. Integrity chose not to opt for an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution instead, designed and created the most advanced technology platform in the industry.
"Integrity has been able to solve this challenge using a simple product design, unique administration structures and processes, and the best and newest technology platform in the industry."
When Integrity launched just one year ago, Australia saw its first new insurer brand in four decades, with Chris leading the charge. Having gained more than the required capital, securing licenses through the regulator in record time and acquiring a small life insurer to give an operational starting point; Integrity Life was born. But this incredible story of speed to market and ambition doesn’t end there. Chris started a business with purpose. An organization that is all about “helping customers when they need help most”, with values at its core and they have maintained those values along the way.
At its core, life insurance should be about being there for people when they need it most. However, somewhere along the way it became institutionalized and became more focused on profit than customers. Chris believed it was time to set up a life insurer that was about values at its core and about focusing on customers. In a world that is increasingly transparent and where values were seemingly taking a back-seat, he believed it was time to do life insurance the way it was meant to be. “If you are truly building something for people, then you need to have a robust way to listen to what they want, to be able to implement what they need, and continually do it over time (not just as a once off),” says Chris.
The ‘Listen, Learn, Act, Repeat’ framework is part of Integrity’s continued success and competitive advantage. It keeps Integrity in-touch with what the market wants and gives them a way to respond to it. “We are building systems, services and products for the future, which means we’re creating products and processes that must respond to an evolving industry,” adds Chris. “When creating Integrity, I went out to the market and asked people ‘what do you want’. The result of this was 15 key industry pain points that we addressed through product design, technology, and process.”
A landmark in the success of Integrity is identifying an unmet need in the market to provide insurance for the employees of SMEs. Group insurance has historically been unavailable to SMEs with less than 20 staff because of the traditional high cost structures of insurers using legacy systems. Integrity has been able to solve this challenge using a simple product design, unique administration structures and processes, and the best and newest technology platform in the industry.
Chris thinks when someone makes a claim with a life insurer it is generally because something life changing has happened to them or someone close to them. Either they have been injured or become seriously ill or someone close to them has died. This means that, as a customer, they should be treated with care and compassion and that their claims transaction should be handled as efficiently as possible. “We will shortly commence building an innovative AI-based claims transaction system. This will enable us to be both transactionally efficient while providing new levels of care towards our policyholders, whether their claim is successful or not,” adds the steadfast leader.
For Integrity, culture is very important to us. One of the ways Chris has fostered a high performing culture is through diversity and inclusion. Six out of seven of Chris’ direct reports are women, as are 52% of all employees. They have also developed strong recruitment processes where each prospective employee is challenged to self-assess the alignment of their own personal values to those of Integrity. This was a process that Chris put in place and he personally conducts the final interview for many roles to ensure that the people joining are personally aligned to Integrity’s values and culture.
MD & CEO
Integrity was created out of a desire to fundamentally disrupt the industry and improve life insurance in Australia. By blending our expertise with technology, we are creating products that are easy to understand and simple to use.