Pantaenius grows through unique product and positioning

The team from Pantaenius Insurance "pressing the flesh" at SCIBS.
Jeni Bone
After just 18 months in the Australian market, Pantaenius is growing their share through word of mouth referral and a product that is 'completely different'.

Sponsors of the recent ASMEX conference held prior to the Sanctuary Cove InNternational Boat Show, where they were also exhibitors, the Pantaenius team comprised John McCurdy, managing director of Pantaenius UK, and James MacPhail, Managing Director of Australian operations along with national and international team members.

According to McCurdy, in the past year and a half, the company has grown its client base to around 1,300 clients.

'The rate of growth is around 150 to 175 new clients each month, so we are very satisfied with that,' adds McPhail. 'Last year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show had phenomenal impact for us and we’re hoping to build on that this year.'

The brand has been around since 1973 in its current form, and involved in shipping and insurance for around 120 years.

Based at The Spit on Sydney’s northside, the local team has a staff of seven and prides itself on a unique product, devised by boaties for boaties.

'When you call us with your insurance needs, you can be sure we know what you’re standing on,' says MacPhail. 'We have done very well from word of mouth referral. Boating people want to deal with people who understand their requirements.'

MacPhail describes the market Pantaenius is targeting as 'the middle market space', referring to cruiser/racers, your typical Club sailor.

'We are attracting clients mostly through referral, sponsorship of events like ASMEX, being active at boat shows and our online presence. Sailors are very active online. There is a real connection there with wanting news and event information. Word of mouth is important to us too, with both power and sail, as our clients refer others based on their experience with us.'

Key to the brand’s local success is its 'completely different product, created by yachtsmen for yachtsmen', which arrived in the marketplace at precisely the right time.

'We arrived post-Queensland storms, and people had been frustrated with some of the established insurers,' explains McCurdy. 'We came in with a new product and people had an appetite for it.'

Pantaenius’ All Risk Policy is dependent on an agreed fixed value, rather than market value. Some of the other unique features include new for old, clauses for wear and tear and a range of perils other insurers don’t cover.

The company’s goal for 2014 and beyond is expansion in the premium end of the market. 'There are around 55,000 potential clients in the category we specialise in,' says MacPhail. 'There’s plenty of room for growth.'

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