Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Cover-More’s Michael Stein

This week, this general manager of sales & marketing for Cover-More told us all his dirty little secrets. Okay fine, we just interviewed him.

THE CHALLENGE FOR THE INDUSTRY IS…

If I answer specifically to travel insurance – there’s a few.

Travel is becoming cheaper and more accessible, and Australia’s population continues to age. The challenge is addressing the comparative cost of insurance, while also not introducing a race to the bottom that reduces margins for everyone and sees an increase in junk insurance policies.

Our ageing population also means we need to improve how we risk rate travellers. Age is a standard question but is not the best indicator of health. Cover-More is trialling an alternative approach that takes the spotlight off age. We need help from our agency partners as it involves a deeper conversation with customers, although I do think it’s one that is quite in-sync because customers transact with travel agents for their advice, help and guidance.

There are also a variety of geopolitical and environmental factors that we need to improve coverage on. Our new products offering Cancel For Any Reason starts to address these, but our cover for terrorism and weather events needs to improve.

Finally, I would say we need to do our bit to address consumer knowledge about the importance of a good insurance policy. Insurance is vital to sustainable travel – it encourages people to travel to destinations economically dependent on tourism, it protects local economies from the financial burden of sick and injured travellers, it protects local incomes when rental vehicles are damaged and taken off the road, and it ensures that travellers can make good financially when things go wrong on their holiday.

THE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MY JOB…

There’s a lot. The relationships. The travel. The mental stimulation.

I also have an amazing team and love that I don’t really feel like “the boss”. We’re a collection of capable and committed people doing good things and having fun doing it together.

I’m also pretty proud to work with the team of people who brought Cancel For Any Reason to the Australian market.

AND THE FRUSTRATIONS ARE…

Sometimes we’re slow to make decisions.

IF I DIDN’T WORK IN TRAVEL I WOULD BE…

A federal copper!

FAVOURITE AIRLINE?

I travel weekly for work and would by fibbing if I didn’t admit to being a points and status credit junkie.

Definitely love Virgin and the perks that travelling so frequently bring from Velocity membership.

MY PROUDEST MOMENT WAS…

I went to Dalhousie Law School in Canada at 19. It was gratifying proving to a bunch of masters students that a naïve 19-year-old from Oz could hack it with them (law in Canada is a post-grad degree).

THE NAUGHTIEST THING I EVER DID WAS…

A secret that only my nearest and dearest know.

I TRY TO RELAX BY…

Gin?

THE LAST TIME I FEARED FOR MY LIFE WAS…

Yesterday’s drive to work #sydneytraffic.

IF I CAN, I ALWAYS TRY TO AVOID…

Complication. K-I-S-S is a foundation principle to live by.

I REALLY WISH I HAD…

My commercial pilot licence.

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS…

Trust your “stomach perspective”. Said by a German friend fumbling for words and trying to say “gut feeling”.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE…

Walk on the right side of a footpath.

MY GREATEST WEAKNESS IS…

Mint slices. And coffee. And did I mention gin?

AND MY GREATEST STRENGTH IS…

Pragmatism.

IF I WON A $1 MILLION LOTTERY (ASIDE FROM TRAVELLING), I WOULD…

Invest, and reinvest the compounding interest for a few years so we have a sustainable travel annuity to retire on.

IF I WAS PRIME MINISTER I WOULD…

Abandon the NBN.

IF I COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR ONE DAY I WOULD BE…

Barack Obama #mancrush.

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO TRAVEL TO…

Trek the Annapurna Circuit.

MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY WAS…

A family holiday to Seminyak last year. Having my twin sister, my brother and Mum and Dad all together in one place again was amazing (especially as Mum and Dad are in their element in Bali!)

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