Crispin Moger is CEO of Marmalade, a provider of insurance and cars for young people. Marmalade has a proven track record in improving the safety of young drivers through the use of insurance products based on advanced telematics and one to one customer care service. On a national basis, one in five young drivers is involved in an accident; Marmalade has reduced this to just one in 17.
Since joining Marmalade in 2007, Crispin has helped grow the business from two people based in an old stable to a business employing close to 50 people. Furthermore, since 2011 Marmalade has seen an increase in annual profit of 340%.
As well as keeping young drivers safe on the road, Crispin is passionate about helping young people to prepare for the world of work. Over the past few years he has given numerous talks at schools and events about running a business, how he has secured funding and developed Marmalade into a success story. He also offers advice on careers and work, including help with writing CVs and how to do well in interviews.
Crispin was the winner of the Young Gun for Growing Business Magazine and BT Business Entrepreneur of the Year 2008.
Why did you decide to set up a company dedicated to young driver insurance?
When I was17 or 18, I remember thinking that there’s got to be a better way for insurance companies to work with younger drivers and insure them on ability rather than age. I wasn’t all that impressed by many of the older drivers I saw and this perceived unfairness spurred me on to make changes. In actual terms of ability, young people are generally very good drivers, with better reaction times and so on but they simply lack experience. I wanted to help this group and see if there was a way of getting them lower insurance premiums so they could afford to benefit from the freedom that driving can offer.
What’s unique about Marmalade? Honesty. Most insurance companies cover the risk, whereas we focus on the policy. We start with the customer and try and see things from their perspective, and this forms the foundations of our entire product range and operations.
Do young drivers deserve the reputation they have? No, as with so many things it’s a few people ruining it for the majority. In our experience, most young drivers are very good – particularly when provided with ongoing support.
Tell us some of the ways in which you keep young drivers safe. It really is all about experience in the first year so we encourage them to practice more, and treat them with respect, trusting them to do the right thing. We try and engender a sense of pride in their driving, both through developing their skills and also the cars they drive. Our Fuel & Go product enables drivers as young as 17 to buy a new car with 12 months’ free insurance and it’s amazing how much more careful our customers are when they have a new car to drive and love. Our black box technology gives each journey a score based on performance and encourages self-reflection and improvement. If mistakes are made, we call our customers to discuss the issues and provide advice and online learning to avoid the same mistakes being made again.
How do young people feel about having their driving monitored? In our experience, they’re not that concerned. If anything they’re worried about having a bad score for their journey and being monitored helps track their progress. Young people today are quite used to being tracked with the technology on their smartphones and various apps and if telematics means that they can halve the cost of insurance, it can only be a good thing. You will always get some who don’t like it, but usually it is because they’ve got something to hide – and that’s often a love of driving dangerously.
Should parents feel guilty about choosing to use black box technology? Parents often feel bad, I know, I’m a parent myself but this is definitely not something to worry about. Should you feel guilty for trying to ensure your child is safe on the roads? Definitely not. This is about saving lives and as a secondary bonus saving money. It is not about spying, rather helping make your child a safer driver.
What else can parents do to help keep their teens safe on the road? Parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of the roads in a way that is going to resonate with them and helping develop that all-important experience through practise in a safe environment. There are also things that parents should be aware of, for example lots of passengers can be a big distraction. Unfortunately there are some very sad statistics that show the more people in your child’s car, the more likely they are to have an accident. Telematics goes some way to avoid this situation and some of our customers say that one of the benefits of telematics is that they can blame the black box for not speeding, rather than having to admit to friends that they don’t want to go too fast. Parents can also help by ensuring that our precious children are not driving an old rust bucket, and that the car they are driving is maintained properly, so teaching them basic skills such as checking tyres for pressure.
Do you think we need to see a change in the way learner drivers are taught and tested? Yes, drivers need much more time behind the wheel before they take their test and they need to be taught more about what a car can and cannot do – how to handle the car in different weather conditions and so on. Too many people are in accidents because they panic, lose control and don’t know how to react in certain situations. This is an area that we’re currently looking into, we want to develop an offering to provide expert advice and support to young drivers and their parents. Watch this space…
Other than telematics, in what other ways can we improve the safety of young drivers? Safety can be improved through practise, help and support. Additionally, friends should respect each other and understand the dangers of distracting the driver. It’s really important to enjoy driving and we never want to take that away from young drivers but we do want to help them enjoy their new found skills in the safest way possible.
In your experience of providing insurance and dealing with claims you must have a good insight into the main causes of crashes for young drivers? Yes, I have worked in insurance for more than 10 years and seen it all. That’s why our sole focus is on safety and ensuring drivers do not have the accidents in the first place. The key problems stem from their inexperience, getting distracted by friends or phones or just not understanding the dangers of driving too fast, taking corners too quickly etc. and lacking the skills to get themselves out of these situations safely.
Are we getting anywhere in our fight to reduce the numbers of young drivers involved in collisions? Yes we are, and the latest figures show that accidents have dropped year-on-year, but there’s still much more to be done by all parties from the government the Association of British Insurers, everyone in the insurance industry as well as young drivers and their parents. A key factor for change has to be embracing telematics – we have proven that it saves lives and more people need to be made aware of the benefits of this technology. We’ve greatly improved the safety record of our young drivers but we’re not stopping there and want to see an even greater reduction in the number of young people involved in accidents on our roads.
If you could give just three words of advice to a new driver what would they be? Enjoy driving safely.
And if you could give three words of advice to parents of young drivers, what would these be? Practise, support, encourage.