Hoxton’s founder – Justin Gott – has been in the insurance business for more than 25 years. Here we find out what drew him to insurance, the motivation behind launching Hoxton, and why you can rely on him for a good cup of coffee.
1. When did you start out in insurance?
And what was the appeal?
I started out in insurance in 1994. I was lucky enough to join a small Lloyd’s syndicate, and to get a place on a really excellent training program. From day one I was given a great insight into the entrepreneurial nature of the industry, and was handed a fantastic opportunity to learn my trade as an underwriter while travelling internationally to find new business opportunities. This was a big part of the appeal, but I also really valued the way the industry finds ways to support businesses and people by absorbing risk and removing worry. It’s one of the few industries that genuinely touches pretty much everyone, every day and it’s a surprisingly exciting place to work!
2. If you hadn’t been an underwriter, what other career might you have chosen and why?
Through my career, I’ve insured most of the great houses in the UK. The protection and preservation of our architecture is important to me, and I have a huge interest in how architecture has evolved and changed through history. I think if I hadn’t been on this side of the fence, I would love to have been an architect.
3. What gave you the idea to set up Hoxton?
The insurance industry generally is very entrepreneurial, so it felt natural that I would do something like this at some point. The final push came from seeing bigger businesses struggle to evolve, adapt and change, and wanting to see if creating a small, nimble business could help the industry accelerate into new, more current ways of trading.
We set up Hoxton to try to take what is great from a very strong and traditional industry and combine it with cutting-edge technology and digitisation of processes. The intention is to make our clients’ and our brokers’ lives easier, while still delivering a first-class insurance proposition that will grow and evolve as we add more products and services to our digital platform. We can then feed these learnings back into our business partners and create ways to all succeed together.
4. Do you think the market for higher value personal lines is badly served?
I think the market is served brilliantly by brokers, but those brokers aren’t necessarily being given the best tools for the job. If you look at how other financial services have evolved over the past five to ten years, it seems insurers have not always kept pace with current technology and the digitisation of traditional processes. Unless we help our brokers to do this, they will become a dying breed and we will lose an incredibly valuable part of our proposition.
5. How is Hoxton going to change things?
We’ve committed to being 100% intermediated. I think this is a very important part of our proposition, because we still absolutely see the value of the intermediary. What we’re trying to do is to give our intermediaries the best possible tools to really look after all the insurance needs of clients, and to help them focus more on their service and less on the processes we will automate for them. We want to take away the worry from our clients by, for example, no longer asking them to calculate how much it would actually cost to rebuild their home, and offering unlimited sums insured. And we want our competitors to take notice of how we’re doing things, and to feel a need to improve themselves to the benefit of their own clients and the market as a whole.
6. What do you enjoy most about running your own business? And what are you happy to delegate?
The success or failure of any business depends on its people, and I most enjoy building successful and high performing teams who can take pride in creating something new and innovative. Going on that journey with other people is immensely rewarding. I’m also sensible enough to know what I’m not good at, and that’s the stuff that gets delegated! I am a bit of a coffee nerd too, so you’ll never have a bad cup of coffee when you visit Hoxton.
7. What do you hope that Hoxton will have achieved within a year? And what’s the longer-term vision?
The first year is all about delivering what we’ve promised to our business partners and our clients. So, delivering our business plan, paying claims brilliantly, and ensuring the tech works in a way that makes our brokers’ lives easier. Beyond that, we’ll be launching a series of new insurance products that really round out the proposition and we’ll be refining the tech with an ambition to be a market leading platform for intermediated insurance.
In the longer term, we don’t want to be the biggest in our market – we’d rather focus on brilliantly delivering on our promises to our business partners and our clients. If you excel at delivering on your promises, the growth always follows.
8. How do you relax away from work?
Running and cycling. Music and books. A decent meal and a good bottle of wine, ideally with my family.
9. Who would play you in a film about your life?
I think I’d give it a go – how hard can it be!