Our latest Marketing in the time of COVID-19 series is an interview with Dave Gardiner of Evergreen Insurance Services. Evergreen Insurance Services is a story about a personal mission and real passion. David Gardiner, the driving force behind Evergreen, has a love of the natural world and the idea of Evergreen germinated one day when he took his ideas for the creation of ethical products to Colin Duxberry and Chris Browne the directors of Surrey Independent Advisors, while he was seeking a new management role in the business. He told them about his concept for his brand and they immediately bought into the concept.
All three of them wanted to grow a business with transparency, honesty and integrity. They believe that business should not be all about the ‘bottom line’ and that they felt that they should do more.
They wanted to create a new approach for the insurance sector – a new world of insurance. Evergreen give as much as 25% of the total commission back in the process, helping many great projects and programmes all over the world.
Can you tell me a bit about yourselves, your business and what you do day to day?
We are an independent insurance brokers, helping our clients with both business and personal insurance needs. However, the difference with us is that for every policy that is arranged through us we donate up to 25% of our commission earnings back to one of our nature, wildlife, conservation charity friends, helping to protect our natural world.
Has COVID-19 changed how you are doing your business?
Our business is transacted over the phone with our clients and with face to face appointments with business clients. We have been involved with more video meetings and will continue to do so where we can. We are also reviewing the necessity to have all team members working from our offices every day, do we need to sit in traffic adding to congestion and pollution or can we take a different approach – these are operational discussions we are having to improve the environment and the wellbeing of our team members.
Have you seen changes across the whole Insurance industry in general over this time?
There has certainly been some impact across the industry, home working and protecting team members has changed the working lives for everyone, with some places like Lloyds not considering to re-open until at least September. There have been some restrictions put into place from underwriters on some product lines and maybe further change in the future.
Has it affected demand?
For business insurance there has been a lot of uncertainty for customers, especially during lockdown. Some businesses have reduced their staff, vehicles etc and as a result has had a positive affect on their premiums, in terms of some reductions. For personal customers who still have homes to insure and their vehicles, demand has been fairly consistent.
You set up your business to have an ethical base from the beginning, can you tell us a bit about why you did that and how you think it has affected your business?
I have a lifelong passion for our natural world, animals, and wildlife – I was frustrated with the big corporates and their approach to people and our environment. I wanted to create a business that provided clients with the insurance solutions that they required but at the same time raising donations to help protect the many endangered and threatened species we share our planet with. We have partnered with a number of charity organisations and we are helping to fund their vital work. Our clients like our honest approach and the fact that we are helping to protect our natural world, we all need insurance for something so why not help our planet at the same time.
Have you have made changes to your marketing during this and will they continue after COVID-19?
Our marketing is largely based on affiliate marketing with our partners, generally electronically and via social media, so this approach has remained constant. We have refrained from and will continue to do so for the moment in attending any shows/events.
Do you think this current situation has highlighted the needs for insurance in things like cancelled trips, even concert and show tickets?
There are covers available for these types of losses but would highly recommend reading the terms and conditions and insurers may include specific exclusions.
Could you tell us something we don’t know about the ethics in your industry, or your business in particular?
Evergreen is run with passion for providing the right insurance solutions for our clients, whilst protecting our natural world. We have donated thousands of pounds since our inception in 2017 to many wonderful charities all helping to protect nature, wildlife, animals, and conservations. During this short time, we have also been nominated for a number of awards and won a few for our ethics and approach to business.
Do you have a favourite ethical marketing campaign that you would recommend people look at, and who influenced you?
Nothing specific, we get involved with online groups such as #ethicalhour on twitter each week.
Lastly what’s next in insurance, and what are you, as a company, up to next?
Innovating and moving with the times, developing products for changing lifestyles. We are building our network of contacts whether charities or businesses – all with a likeminded approach of helping to protect our natural world. We want to grow our client base, in tern helping to provide employment as we expand. We want to help more projects protecting the many endanagered species we share our planet with from bugs, bees and butterflies to lions, elephants, and the reduction of plastics in our oceans.
Thanks very much to Dave for giving us an insight into his business and how it has been affected by the current pandemic. To find out more about what Dave does and Evergreen Insurance Services then please visit their website here.