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Almi provides simple, fast and accessible solutions


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Almi provides simple, fast and accessible solutions
Almi co-founders, from left, Denny Kuruvilla, Robert Chen and Juan Venegas. (GP)

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by Shawn Cumberbatch

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Barbados’ already competitive financial services sector has a new entrant – insurance broker almi (almi.bb).

A technology firm solving financial problems in innovative ways is what Barbadians seeking motor insurance can expect, said chief growth officer Juan Venegas.

Almi.bb intends to transform financial services from often being complicated, slow or expensive to simple, fast and accessible.

Almi means soul or spirit. We wanted to create a company that is a bit different, more approachable, more customer friendly. The company was officially founded about a year and a half ago,” Venegas shared.

“Our roots are Caribbean, one of our parent companies is based in Jamaica and that’s where the seed was planted.”

Barbadians will be able to secure insurance coverage in a more convenient way. Technology is central to this.

“We needed to make a product that’s very, very easy to use, where people can get the insurance whenever they want and wherever they are,” he explained.

“So we built a platform where you can, from the beginning to the end, in a matter of on average 15 to 20 minutes, source your insurance policy, which is unheard of in Barbados and, I would say, in the region in general. So absolutely every single step can be done from your phone.”

Venegas elaborated: “You have to validate your identity, financial institutions need to know their customers, so all that process of knowing the customer and validating the identity is done on the platform through a selfie and then that’s connected to your ID and we can do the verification right there in seconds.

“And then you move to the next step which is providing all of the details about your car, and any documents that you need to submit you just take photos of them, that’s all. And then everything is submitted and validated, and if everything checks right, you can make your payment for your first month of coverage.”

Once customers make their payment, he noted, “You can get your cover letter right on your phone and then basically, 25 minutes after you have started this process, you can jump in your car with a brand new insurance coverage”.

Venegas said almi’s customers would be offered flexible payments.

“We provide flexible payments. You can either pay your full year or you can pay monthly. Not a lot of companies offer monthly payments, usually you can split it in two or split in in three or in four, but a 12 months split I think we are one of the very, very few.

“And we charge no interest on the monthly payments. So if you pay a full year or if you pay monthly, the total net amount is exactly the same, which is very convenient. Wallets are stretched so I think that’s a welcome thing for people,” said the almi.bb executive.

With a small team of fulltime employees in Barbados so far, Venegas said the fact that the company was not the typical bricks and mortar entity, enabled it to offer competitive prices.

“Our fixed costs are not as high as a traditional broker and that gives us a lot of flexibility, we can adapt fast,” he said.

Almi.bb has also given major attention to the insurance claims process.

“That experience needs to be absolutely great because that’s the time where you actually get what you paid for, where your insurance becomes real,” he reasoned.

With digital processes key to the way almi.bb does business, the security of customer data and the technology and payments platform used, is also a main focus of the operation.

“Our systems are completely encrypted, payment information is processed in the back end with one of the best providers in the Caribbean for digital payments,” Venegas assured future customers.

“We partner with First Atlantic Commerce (FAC) and this is the preferred digital payments management in the Caribbean for the biggest banks. We work with FAC and they have very stringent security protocols and all of our payments are processed through the RBC Barbados office (Royal Bank of Canada),” he added.

Venegas said Almi.bb, a fully licensed insurance broker with the Barbados Financial Services Commission, was ready to make its impact in the island and he was confident that customers would be pleased. For more details visit almi.bb