*Any advice provided is general advice and does not take your personal circumstances into consideration. Please read the Stella product disclosure statement (PDS) available at stellainsurance.com.au for the terms, conditions, and exclusions before purchasing this insurance. Stella Underwriting (ABN 72 633 811 319) is Authorised Representative (AR 001282046) of Allstate Insurance Pty Ltd (AFSL 239010) which is acting under an agreement on behalf of the product issuer, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited AFSL 239545).
Sam White’s drive for change started from a young age.
As the child of a dysfunctional alcoholic, White quickly learned that she didn’t fit in at school: her school uniform was never clean and always missing buttons. But rather than let her situation hold her back, White used her experience to power her desire for a different kind of life.
“It manifested a deep desire to prove that I was as good as anyone else,” says the mum-of-two. “My motto became: ‘You think I’m lesser in some way? Prepare to be surprised.’”
White’s determination led her to set up her own business at just 24.
“When it came to work, I quickly realised that the conventional path wouldn’t suit me,” she says. “I rebuffed conformity and set up my first insurance company, acutely aware that it was traditionally considered a male-dominated, almost-sterile industry. The irony wasn’t lost on me.”
Two decades on, White has turned her quest for freedom and nonconformity into a portfolio of thriving insurance and brokerage businesses in the UK (Action 365, Pukka Insure, Freedom Brokers) that employ more than 200 people .
“I believe in building businesses that work for everyone: the people they employ, the communities they operate in and the customers they service.”
This year, White launched a new business venture in Australia, Stella, a car insurance brand that specifically caters to Australian women. As a brand that aims to reward women for being statistically ‘safer drivers’, Stella is a radically different proposition in the Australian insurance market – and, as female drivers, a proposition that has us and our bank accounts excited.
“Interestingly through our research we discovered that a lot of men tend to automatically think that because driving is a physical thing, they should be better at it. But the numbers don’t lie – women are proven to have less accidents and cause less damage in accidents than men,” White says.
“Of course there are individual instances where this hasn’t been the case but overall, female primary drivers are a safer bet to insure than male. We analyse a huge amount of actuarial data and statistically, this is how it plays out.”
Reflecting on the world’s turbulent past six months, White says the pandemic has allowed her to witness an incredible community spirit worldwide, as humans unite to fight this common challenge – now more than ever, she believes we need businesses that support both the economy and society. She’s also adamant that women in particular will have a huge part to play in this.
“One thing I’ve learnt along the way is that women tend to build different kinds of businesses to men, they’re also generally more collaborative and that style of working sits well with me” she says.
White’s deep interest in improving outcomes for women is a fundamental part of her business drive, and understanding human behaviour is key to how she can make a difference – whether it’s through better value insurance premiums or better social outcomes.
“In the UK, our business has been successfully supporting female entrepreneurs through our give-back scheme,” she explains.
“We’ve recently been helping to fund a program called My Happy Minds in schools which is all about teaching young children emotional resilience and understanding our behaviours: why do we do the things we do? The founder, Laura Earnshaw, is doing some incredible things in this space with kids.
“We’re looking to support purpose-driven female entrepreneurs such as Laura in Australia through Stella – especially those whose businesses might have taken a hit as a result of COVID-19.”
“Any entrepreneur we support can’t just be just motivated by the bottom line – they must have a wider purpose beyond that.”
Not only is Stella set to empower Australian women with simple, transparent and cost-effective car insurance, it will ultimately challenge the way they approach insurance and finance altogether.
“Our plan is to change the game, full stop,” White says. “For me, success involves giving. It’s as simple as that.”
Brought to you by Stella. Car insurance for women, by women.