Hollard & Jenga & innovation & conversation

CN&CO is part of the team that’s marketing Hollard’s innovative trade credit insurance offering, which was introduced to a group of corporate executives at Hollard’s Villa Arcadia on 6 September 2016. Here’s the lowdown…

“Without conversation, there can be no innovation.” – Gareth Joubert, managing director, Hollard Trade Credit

Hollard’s new trade credit insurance offering is proof positive that conversation lies at the heart of innovation. Before we unpack that statement, let’s take a few steps back and create some context.

Trade credit insurance protects businesses against financial losses that they incur when their debtors don’t pay them. There are only a handful of insurance companies in SA that offer this type of insurance. Traditionally, these insurance companies will look at a business’s debtors book and say, “Okay, we’ll insure you for up to Rxxx if any of the following debtors default…” and then give you a list of debtors they are prepared to cover.

HTC Debtsource launch

Pictured at the Hollard Trade Credit Debtsource presentation, from left to right, Hollard’s Paolo Cavalieri, Gareth Joubert and Rob Hallier, with Debtsource CEO Frank Knight. Gareth obviously didn’t get (or chose to ignore) the dress code memo

Enter Hollard Trade Credit.

The whole idea of launching a trade credit product at Hollard started during a conversation at a conference. Frank Knight, CEO of credit management company Debtsource, was sitting next to someone from Hollard at a conference. (Let’s call him James.) Frank asked James why Hollard, a composite insurer, didn’t offer trade credit insurance.

“That’s a very good question,” said James. “I’ll make some enquiries.”

And so James had some conversations internally, which led to more conversations with Frank, and the development of a trade credit insurance product that ticks all the innovation boxes.

“What sets the Hollard trade credit offering apart is the fact that we offer cover on individual debtors,” says Hollard Trade Credit MD Gareth Joubert. “So rather than going the client and saying ‘Here’s what we’re prepared to cover’, we say, ‘What would you like us to cover?’. We then assess each of the debtors individually and generate a premium based on the sum of each individual risk.

“We’ve bundled the insurance offering up with a full credit management service through Debtsource. This not only allows us to rate each debtor individually so that we can offer this service in the first place, it also means clients gets ongoing credit management as part of the deal.”

CN&CO provides marketing assistance to Hollard Trade Credit, including elements of strategy and execution. So far we’ve provided strategic guidance to the team around the launch on ongoing marketing of the product, as well as all the content for the marketing collateral, including web and print. We were also very involved in the introductory event to Debtsource’s existing clients.

“The theme for the evening was Jenga,” explains CN&CO MD Gianluca Tucci. “Each of the guests received a full Jenga set with the Hollard Trade Credit values laser cut into the pieces.

“In a credit management context, each of the Jenga pieces represents a debtor. Removing a piece represents a payment default. Some pieces can be removed without any major catastrophes – in other words, the Jenga tower stays standing. It may wobble a bit, but hasn’t fallen over. Other pieces, however, are more important to the structural integrity of the tower. Removing them causes collapse.”

“It’s the same with debtors,” says Gareth. “Some defaults simply cause wobbles in a business, while others can cause complete annihilation. Being able to offer clients the option to pick which debts to insure makes complete sense in this context.”

The idea to use Jenga to illustrate this concept came about as a result of (you guessed it) a conversation between Gianluca and Gareth. Proof once again that innovation is a function of conversation.

“Conversation is vital,” says Gareth. “It’s what keeps us moving forward.”