Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Sarifa finds a new home

Published:Monday | October 3, 2016 | 10:00 AMDaviot Kelly

Sarifa Insurance Brokers has a new home. The two-year old company has moved its operations from Braemar Avenue to Phoenix Avenue. President and CEO of Sarifa Christopher Blythe said he started looking for a new space in April. They moved out in July but had to use a temporary residence on Ruthven Road as the finishing touches were added. But it has been worth the wait.

"The new location was an open plan, allowing us to customise the area how we wanted," said Blythe, opining the location has numerous benefits. "You have a lot of traffic. You have three restaurants here ... so there is a lot of foot traffic, and it's pretty central as well." Makeda Solomon, executive director and chief marketing officer, chimes in.

"And then there is the ambience. Coming in, you see the aesthetics all around you, from you park your car. There's greenery and foliage, waterfalls, it's a very nice and peaceful environment as well," she said. The new office is 1,810 square feet, the same size as their original office.

"From customers have been coming in, they really enjoy the new location, the ambience, the setting. Even though the space is the same size, everybody thinks it's a much bigger space because of how the layout is configured," said Blythe. "So just the whole flow of the new place, I think, is good for the employees as well as the customers." But apart from the physical move, Sarifa has been seeing positive movements overall. The company's online platform has taken off since being launched last year.

DOUBLE THE REVENUE

"We just got two additional insurers, so our customers now have more companies online to get quotes from, which is very critical for us," he said. "Based on last year compared to this year, we're looking to double the revenue we made. And now that we're going to start pushing the online platform more, we hope to get an uptick in customers as well." Blythe reiterated Sarifa has always pushed convenience for customers via technology.

"That's how we view Sarifa. We're a technology company as opposed to just a typical insurance broker," he said. "We started off with motor insurance online, but the whole goal is to allow customers to purchase all personalised insurance online." Sarifa has also won the top award from the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA) for two consecutive years, even being named a customer service ambassador for JaCSA during Customer Service Week from October 2 to 8. And earlier this year, Sarifa took the young entrepreneur award at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce business awards.

"This was specifically because of our technology, because it's something new that we're bringing to the market. We're the first broker in Jamaica to have customers compare quotes online," said Blythe. "It's a very humbling feeling. I wasn't anticipating the awards, especially as we just started and we haven't really got into our groove." Solomon said the awards show they are on the right track.

"It shows us that the vision from the outset has materialised. And not only that, it is being recognised as something fresh, new and vibrant that stands out from the rest of the market, which is important to us."

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com