- Insurance that gives back to animal and conservation charities is an exciting idea – what inspired you to set up Evergreen Insurance?
Nature and the marvels of the animal world are two of my greatest passions in life. Now I have found a way to turn a life-long passion into an ethical business. Over the years, my partner and I have rescued a colourful assortment of animals, and we currently have 3 rescued cats and 2 chickens in residence. I love animals and I hate to see animals in danger, abandoned or poorly treated. I have worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years and have always felt that there is more than can be done to help our environment, help protect the planet for us and future generations and do it differently and better. I set out to create Evergreen Insurance to do just that! I wanted to run my own business but not be greedy about it – there is only so much money people need. I was also wanted to set out to work with some wonderful charities and make a bigger impact through a growing, worldwide movement of compassion, sustainability and philanthropy.
- Some insurance companies have a poor reputation for customer service and for not being great in a crisis – have you carefully vetted all the insurers you work with for the way they deal with customers and social and environmental track record?
Yes. It is very important for my ethical, animal-loving brand that I work with the right insurers. For me, it has to be about value for money and helping my clients when the worse happens and you need to make a claim. When selecting insurers to work with, I asked each company to demonstrate their proven environmental policies, track record and good CSR. No matter how big the brand is, or what they can offer me and my clients; if they can’t demonstrate these points, I won’t work with them. The insures that are on the Evergreen panel are all big brands, and they are able to demonstrate clear ethics and have awarding-winning claims services, run from their own businesses and not out sourced.
- Tell us a bit about you Dave. What is your background?
I was born in Dorset and grow up on the beautiful Jurassic coast. I’ve always had an affinity for animals and the natural world and my partner is a senior lecturer in animal behaviour at Royal Holloway College, London University.
In my twenties I studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance and most recently Cert Cii insurance qualification. I started working in the insurance industry in the late nineties, and I’ve held a number of senior positions within the industry.
How do you like to spend your time away from the office?
We love nature walks and watching how our landscape changes throughout the seasons. At weekends more often than not, we are out and about in the countryside, interacting with nature. I love photography. I am not brilliant at it but I do love capturing wildlife in action.
We have cared for various animals over the years including rabbits, hedgehogs, injured birds and of course our 3 rescued cats. We love our animals and get so much joy from them. I don’t think a day goes by when my cats don’t me smile a laugh, especially Angus our Mainecoon.
Most recently we have had a family of foxes living at the end of garden, it’s been wonderful to see their cubs grow up – they have moved on now but I am hoping they will come back. I also know there are hedgehogs living in the garden and between us and our neighbours we make sure we have gaps in our fences to allow them to pass through freely, they are leaving their mark but I haven’t met one this year yet!
My partner and I love gardening, and our garden is a very special place for us. We love to see the plants grow and we always try and plant seeds/plants that will attract wildlife, particularly bee’s to help protect and preserve them. At the end of our garden we created a “bug hotel” to allow our invertebrate friends to live in peace.
- Do you cover all types of insurance from house insurance to travel?
Yes, we can help our clients from a whole range of insurance requirements including home (standard, high net worth, non-standard (construction ie: thatched), let property’s, holiday homes, 2nd homes, motor, pet, travel, life and business from liability, taxi, manufacturing, offices, shops, commercial property – through our insurance partners, we can cater for most insurance needs.
- Will people be able to nominate their favourite charity to benefit from a donation, or do you have a list of preferred charities?
I have partnerships with a number of charities and we hope to engage with their supporters and make donations back when a policy is taken out or renewed. If there is a specific project close to a clients’ heart that they want to nominate, then I am more than happy to give the donation to a special cause or charity, it is all about customer choice. If customers simply want to help and aren’t sure where to donate, then at the end of the quarter I will “pool” those donations and share them out between our charity partners.
- What is the most unusual thing you have ever been asked to insure?
At my old firm, I was once asked to quote for the hands of a famous pizza brand!
- We have to ask, is it more expensive to take out a policy with Evergreen because of the donation element?
In short no. The donation made to charity comes from the commission we earn as a broker for arranging the insurance, I do not pass this on to the client. It comes out of our income/operating profit. The donations that are made and for transparency, come from every single transaction the client makes with us, so for example – if a client arranged a car insurance policy with us for a 1 litre vehicle at a lower premium (donation made from this transaction) then if the client then changed their vehicle midterm for something that was high performance and it attracted an additional premium, I would make the donation on this transaction as well. (if that reverse was to happen I wouldn’t attempt to claim money back!!) Evergreen is about brilliant personal customer service, providing the right product at a competitive price and supporting our natural world, with transparency, honesty and good ethics.
- What kind of animal would you be and why?
A cat (with nice owners!) I love their independence, love of boxes and the random silly moments they have – it looks fun, and sometimes I would love to be a cat too!
9. If you weren’t running and ethical, animal-loving insurance company, what would you love to be doing in another life?
I had thought of running a small hotel/B&B but with a nature twist! I would also offer guided nature tours/walks.
10. What’s your best tip when taking out new insurance?
Cheap isn’t always good. Always engage with a professional broker who can help you through the journey to ensure you are fully covered for what you need. I have seen examples of customers purchasing cover online at a really cheap price but they weren’t covered for what they needed, a claim arises and it isn’t accepted. It worries me that customers are either under insured or not insured at all, exposing themselves to all sorts of problems and risks. Its best to get the right cover at the right price and be fully protected.
11. Where will your summer holiday take you this year and have you taken out travel insurance?
I am so excited about my holiday this year, We are going on a rain forest tour in Borneo, staying in a forest lodge, with the promise of a front row seat to the natural world – I can’t wait to share the pictures on social media! And yes, I’ve already got my travel insurance sorted!
Dave’s Top Travel Insurance Tips:
- There are an array of products on the market available online, check the cover carefully – low cost travel insurance may not be covering you for what you need.
- If in doubt speak to a professional, it might cost a little bit more but at least you have peace of mind.
- Check the cover carefully. Low cost policies may be covering low limits of cover – for example cancellation cover might only be a few hundred pounds, higher levels of cover are available
- Check to see whether or not you need vaccinations for where you are travelling to, it may impact a medical claim.
- Single trip and annual policies are available, if you plan to have more than one break try an annual policy it may work out to be more cost effective than taking out several single trip policies
- Make sure you declare any medical conditions, some insurers will cover pre-existing conditions, some may exclude it. This can depend on the location and clients age but it pays to be honest up front.
- If you are planning to do any sports whilst on holiday declare these to make sure the right cover is in place, eg: skiing, you can also purchase cover for things like golf and or business equipment.
- Arrange your insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday, otherwise you may not be covered if you have to cancel the holiday.
- Think of things like travel disruption, for example the ash cloud situation a few years ago – travel disruption can be included but might be excluded from a low cost policy online.
- Are you planning to drive on holiday? Make sure your car insurance policy extends to cover you, take your driving licence and policy documents with you.
- I always double up on my documents and keep in separate bags just in case one goes missing – I also take a photo of my passport just incase it goes missing, so I have a copy and can prove my identity. I also have a photocopied version of my passport with me as well!
Dave’s Mission Statement and Promise
“With a passion for the natural world and a desire to help charities with their vital work, I have set up Evergreen to do just this. People need insurance, whether it is for their home, car, life, holiday, their pets or business – why not try a company that has an ethical ethos and mission to give something back. I hope that like-minded people will try Evergreen for all their insurance needs. I promise that for every £1 in commission I earn, I will donate back 10% in Year 1, 15% in Year 2 and 25% in Year 3 – to help support the ongoing vital work of nature charities. I look forward to helping you all with your insurance needs.”
To find our more or get an insurance quote – www.evergreeninsuranceservices.co.uk Tel 020 3372 2160
Dave and Evergreen Insurance are an Ethical Hedonist VIP Brand. Dave has brilliantly backed our campaign for more media 4 nature on @crowdfunderuk – Find out how you could join in and get talked about too and help support a media revolution.