CFO: KING PRICE INSURANCE
AS CFO OF KING PRICE INSURANCE, RHETT FINCH HAS SUCCESSFULLY GUIDED THE R100-MILLION START-UP TO A R3,3-BILLION COMPANY IN SIX YEARS. THEIR BUSINESS MODEL HAS SAVED THEIR CLIENTS OVER R150 MILLION IN DECREASING PREMIUMS. AND BEST YET, THEIR 900 STAFF MEMBERS ARE LIKE ONE BIG ‘ROYAL’ FAMILY WHO ENJOY ‘FUN WITH A LITTLE MADNESS’ AS A FAMILY VALUE. THEY KIND OF DO EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY, AND IT’S DEFINITELY WORKING!
Rhett Finch’s life took a sharp turn when he met with Gideon Galloway, then CEO of advertising agency ThinkTank, now CEO of King Price, for a random cup of coffee in 2011. Rhett decided right then and there that he wanted to be part of this dream.
Since King Price launched in June 2012, Rhett has helped to achieve year-on-year growth of 75% since year one. He has overseen and grown the finance function from a start-up into a complex, regulated insurance company with a wide variety of short-term lines of business that encompass products across the personal, commercial and specialised ambits. As MD of King Price’s corporate and broker arm, he oversees the strategy and operations for this side of the business. He recently led an acquisition of an established life insurance company that will enable King Price to extend into the life insurance market from 1 October 2019.
Their vision statement ‘Lower premiums: Higher purpose’ defines them.
‘All of us at King Price work for a greater purpose. Our ethos of #MakingADifference is entrenched in everything we do. For us, people are more important than profit, and the sum of the 900 individuals who make up our team is far greater than the sums that calculate our bottom-line. It’s a wonderful testament though, that our bottom-line is as healthy as our team. I really think that our focus on creating and sustaining a vibrant culture that supports entrepreneurship, fun, freedom and responsibility is paying off,’ says Rhett.
‘My every working hour – and that of each of our 900 staff members – contributes to community upliftment. Our major shareholder, Mertech, a private investment group, uses 70% of its profit, via the Mergon Foundation and NationBuilder, to impact lives in South Africa. So, when King Price officially started generating a bottom-line profit, we could also feel good about our success being part of a greater plan to do great good across South Africa,’ says Rhett.
THE ROYAL FAMILY
Most of all Rhett is proud of their ‘royal family’, who are a team who has grown from 13 to 900 dynamic, entrepreneurial and culture-driven individuals who create a sustainable work force and strong succession plan. ‘I love our un-corporate culture, which doesn’t make you feel like you’re actually at work. Our office is filled with constant positive energy, which our staff both generate and thrive on – our people are happy at work, and we figure that, if we’re not having fun at work, we’re not doing it right. ‘I love that King Price supports our people to achieve their goals, both personal and professional, and to live their dreams. I love that we’ve never done things how they’ve always been done. From our world-first business model, to developing our own IT infrastructure to enable our model and growth, to including “fun with a little madness” as a family value – we do everything differently. And as a strategy, it’s working for us,’ he adds.
In 2021 King Price Insurance will be moving into their own building, which is being purpose-built for their needs and designed to grow as they grow.
‘On a sentimental level, our move is an expression that we’re here to stay. We’re putting down roots. We’re creating the kingdom of our dreams. It’s going to be wacky, quirky workspace, filled with toys and inspiration … It even has a Ferris wheel! But I foresee great work coming out of it. I can’t wait! says Rhett excitedly.
ART VERSUS BUSINESS
It was an impulsive moment that led Rhett to choose the CA(SA) route. He can still remember it quite vividly.
‘I was registering for my under-grad degree at Stellenbosch University – literally standing in the queue – and my heart said “study art” but my head said “business is probably a better option”. My uncle, whom I’m very close to and have always looked up to, is a CA in the insurance industry, so I followed his example. And I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted that snap decision!’ he says proudly.
Rhett says he learned pretty fast that everyone starts at the bottom and that no one can expect to be a leader from day one. ‘Respect is earned; it isn’t a given when you get a qualification or a title. So, you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into the work. Especially the hard work. Your academic learning is just theory and the real learning happens on the job. It’s also important that you never stop learning. Information becomes redundant very quickly and the workplace changes daily.’
Rhett is the youngest of three boys. His eldest brother is a top exec at Dimension Data in London and his middle brother and his wife are in Cape Town. They own Love Milo, an online store that sells locally sourced sustainable décor items. His parents, Tim and Sonia, are both retired and live close-by in Joburg.
‘My wife-to-be, Megan, is part of the King Price family – luckily for me, as that’s how we met! And then of course there are our “kids” Cody and Nala, our crazy, beautiful springer spaniels.”
Rhett’s hobbies? ‘Anything that involves a wetsuit, a bike and some running shoes, and preferably all of them together. I like the mental challenge inherent to endurance events. I like having big goals and working hard to achieve them.’