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Hollard Equipage: a specialist backed by a giant creates the insurance win-win-win



A knee-jerk reaction about a small company being acquired by a big one is that quality and service will inevitably suffer. That’s frequently true, but not so in this instance. 

In 2019 Hollard Insure, the short-term arm of the Hollard group, purchased Equipage, South Africa’s leading equine insurer. This was not unusual, considering the two have enjoyed a relationship for over 20 years (with Hollard underwriting Equipage’s product offering). 

But perhaps more significantly, Hollard Insure is composed almost entirely of specialist insurance teams, both in its own Centres of Excellence and in underwriters focused on particular, niche classes of insurance. 

Nicole Giraud White, head of the recently rebranded Hollard Equipage, says that becoming part of the Hollard stable unlocks an array of advantages. 

“For starters, the Equipage team has been inspired by the energy of Hollard,” she says. “It’s a dynamic and busy company that’s going places, and one can’t help but to be swept along with it.” 

More importantly, however, is the back-office support and access to resources that comes with being part of a much larger insurance family. 

“We now boast quicker responses than before to brokers and customers, who – like for Hollard Insure as a whole – are at the heart of what we do. Being able to turn around business more quickly than previously is to the benefit of everyone: customers, the brokers who serve them and us. 

“But what’s really exciting is that we now have direct access to in-house experts, such as in legal and compliance, and in time it will be much easier for us to develop new insurance products in conjunction with Hollard’s actuaries and other specialists. 

“We’re also enjoying the dedicated support of the experts in Hollard Insure’s marketing team, where in the past we would do all our marketing ourselves. It’s amazing, the resources that are available to us now,” says White. 

Nash Omar, Managing Director: Broker Markets for Hollard Insure, says that Hollard’s acquisition of Equipage was a natural progression in the relationship between the two brands. 

“This is the pairing of two thoroughbreds in the South African marketplace: Equipage, which is a leader in the equine insurance space, and Hollard, which in its 40th anniversary year has been included in the 2020 BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands. 

“The foundations of our partnership are therefore deep and solid. We’re delighted to bring Equipage into the Hollard fold, and welcome Nicole White and her team as our newest Hollardites,” says Omar. 

But while Equipage is no longer a stand-alone niche insurance provider, White is adamant that what won’t change is how it engages with its primary stakeholders: the horse-riding community, and the brokers who serve them. 

“Most people in insurance don’t understand horses like we do; much more than pets or investments, and certainly not regular possessions, horses are special ‘items’ and therefore need specialist cover. That makes us the ideal choice for providing customers – be they competitive or recreational riders – with covers that best suit them,” says White. 

“And we’ve been brokers ourselves. We grasp all of the things that brokers do for their customers. Besides, all of us at Hollard Equipage are riders ourselves, and we regularly rub shoulders with our customers. That’s not something many insurance professionals can boast. 

“So, yes, we’re part of Hollard now – but we’re still Equipage. We’re still available to our customers and brokers 24/7, and we’ll still cry with our customers when they suffer a loss. Hollard’s customer and service orientation mirrors ours, guaranteeing the win-win-win for customers, their brokers and, of course, Hollard Equipage,” White states.