The Startup Savants podcast, brought to you by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC), is a series of interviews with entrepreneurs designed to provide an insider’s view of the startup process — from launch to scale.
The guest on this episode is Gregory Rozdeba. Greg is a sales director who specializes in insurtech and wealth-tech firms. He has acted as a consultant to several seven-figure fintech businesses and is a co-founder of Dundas Life, which is transforming the way Canadians buy insurance. Previously, Greg served as Director of Sales at a Toronto-based insurtech firm that’s attempting to transform the insurance prospect-to-policy process, in which position he was instrumental in raising over $7.6 million in venture capital.
Identifying a Pain Point in the Insurance Industry
The Canadian life insurance market is fragmented, with the largest companies making up around one-quarter of the market. While this large competitive landscape offers consumers a variety of choices, its extent makes it difficult for them to find the right product easily. Dundas was set up to solve that problem. “We wanted to create a place where people can get reasonable advice, as well as get the product that fits their situation.”
In addition, the Dundas founders were intent on reducing the paperwork burden that necessarily accompanies signing up for insurance, mostly by automating processes. Yet, they’re hoping to maintain the human touch, particularly in complex cases involving less prevalent medical conditions. Routine matters are automated, but “there’s someone that guides you through the process, so you kind of get the best of both worlds … And we wanted to simplify it because ultimately you turn it into software or you use some tools that make the whole process either automated, digital, or at least templated. It makes the process easier for the clientele, and that’s effectively how we came about starting Dundas Life here.”
Dundas is a brokerage, but the company relies a great deal more on digital technology than a regular brokerage does. And despite the technological bent, the company recognizes that insurance is, to an extent, a relationship business. Accordingly, Greg has likened the dual task of helping people with their life insurance needs (and creating a system to do it) to having a train running while you’re building the track in front of it at the same time.
Advances in digital technology have made insurance processing more efficient. However, at the same time, it has made the process more impersonal. Dundas aims to make the interaction with clients more consultative and less transactional, particularly for life insurance products, dealing with which can be dispiriting because they are an obvious reminder of mortality.
Creating the Accessible Insurance Solution
For exactly that reason, the COVID curse turned out to be a blessing for Dundas. The company was launched during the height of the pandemic when thousands were dying on a daily basis. At that time, the pervasiveness of the infection and the uncertainty of coming up with an effective vaccine certainly would have increased awareness of the fatality risks associated with the disease.
Dundas reinforced the message with an intensive advertising campaign. “The ads were really the starting point. It’s where it all kind of kicked off. And then once we had a reasonable flow, a predictable flow, we started testing other channels, which included Google, video, you name it. Anything digital, practically.”
Generating awareness of what Dundas had to offer was just the first step. The next—delivery— would prove to be a challenge. Providing clients with access to Dundas services required investment in infrastructure. “It really is infrastructure that is necessary in order to compete in the space now. Whether it’s marketing, video, Facebook, Google, you name it; developing partnerships and having the time to cultivate them; being able to set up a sales effort that’s consistent and predictable; having a servicing model after the fact that works; being able to deal with the administration; and this is all just for one line of products.”
And there’s one trend that Greg believes he can capitalize on. That is the move toward greater embedded insurance, where insurance is bundled with other services and products, such as auto sales and auto rentals. There is an easy fit between such transactions and the associated insurance that makes signing up for coverage appear more like receiving a beneficial service and less like a purchase and extra cost.
Startup Savants Podcast
The Startup Savants podcast relates the stories of startups as told by their founders. Hear how the concepts around which these companies were built germinated, the teething problems faced by founders, and the successful solutions they devised. These insightful presentations are hosted by a duo who together offer perspectives on both the soft and hard skills required for business success.
Annaka Voss is an educator versed in the art of effective communication. With a background in design, she’s also able to conceptualize complex disparate systems as one whole, an essential requirement to ensure that all organizational functions are “on the same page.” Ethan Peyton is a serial entrepreneur who has taken one of his business ventures — StateRequirement.com. — to successful exit. With wide-ranging expertise acquired through a diverse array of business projects, Ethan has acquired the unique ability to spot winners.
From developing a strong company culture to overcoming technical roadblocks, each episode of the podcast series aims to provide the most impactful insights for startup founders and enthusiasts alike.
Greg Rozdeba is a co-founder and CEO of Dundas Life, an insurtech that aims to make getting insurance coverage a great deal easier. Greg talks about some of the growing pains his company experienced as it grew from just an idea to an established industry player. He explains the importance of retaining the personal touch in his company’s philosophy. Automation should be employed to enhance the human element, not replace it. In Canada, finding the right insurance product at the right price is a tough job. Dundas Life aims to change that.