Wed | Sep 23, 2020

New brokerage enters insurance market

Published:Friday | February 21, 2020 | 12:16 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
Exodus Insurance CEO Garfield Coke.
File Exodus Insurance CEO Garfield Coke.

Garfield Coke and his wife, Dawnet Coke have struck out on their own as brokers, through a new company called Exodus Insurance.

The couple has pumped $30 million into the venture, Garfield said in an interview on Wednesday. The company operates from the PanJam building in New Kingston.

Exodus, which was incorporated in June 2019 after two years of planning, has a team of 22 general and life insurance brokers. The company obtained its broker licence last November 15, and will be writing business for various insurance companies, which Coke listed as including Advantage General, Sagicor Life, BCIC, Guardian Life, General Accident, JN Life, Guardian General, GK General, Canopy, ICWI, IIBRe and IronRock. He formerly worked with Sagicor Life, and was once an investment adviser to celebrity sprinter Usain Bolt.

Exodus , which will compete against 12 other brokerages, aims to differentiate itself as “a one-stop service centre” and as negotiators of scheme insurance policies on behalf of clients.

“Some persons may have medical conditions and won’t be able to access insurance themselves. But under scheme insurance, the risk is spread and so persons who otherwise would not have been covered, we would negotiate group policies for them,” Coke, 52, told the Financial Gleaner in an interview ahead of the company’s formal launch on Thursday.

In its first two years of operation, Exodus will be focusing on scheme policies and is looking towards groups such as churches, as well as public- and private-sector companies for clientele.

“We are looking mostly on the health side for insurance through the groups, and one of the things that we really want to be strong at is the ability to put smaller groups together. It’s a novelty for us, and we have done four such schemes already since we’ve started,” said the Exodus founder and CEO.

One of the tools that Exodus will be using is USB wristbands, which allows its agents access to encrypted information on insurance policies of the partner companies.

“That aspect of it is unique. We are sworn to secrecy and because we have all access, we can comprehensively put a portfolio together that others cannot do in one go,” Coke said.

Coke worked for 33 years in the life insurance market, garnering several awards and plaudits, before venturing into business with his wife, who herself has two decades of experience in insurance and had worked with Sagicor. Another Exodus director company director, Harold Wong, has served the sector for 49 years.

“I previously headed a brokerage and I was pretty much doing everything … so I decided that that kind of work was something that I needed to do for myself,” Coke said.