Starting his entrepreneurial career with car wash services, then rental property and gas station in Canada, Bruce Wong relocated home to the Virgin Islands 21 years ago to take over control of Tola Mitsubishi Motors in Fish Bay, which he sold a few years ago. Now he is the owner of the newly opened insurance company called Premier Insurance Ltd (PIL).
VI Life and Style Magazine caught up with Bruce and asked him a few questions.
Q: From washing cars to selling and repairing them to now insuring them, it’s fair to say that you have covered every aspect of the auto industry except making them. Why insurance, though?
A: The insurance business is a much easier business than the automotive industry and plus it’s a $40M industry. I believe I can carve a good piece out of it.
Q: As a friend and business associate, I have known you for 18 years and you have shared a lot of business tips, ideas, and advice with me. I recall you telling me about starting an insurance company about two years ago, why did it take so long?
A: It is a worthwhile learning experience. The greatest challenge was learning and understanding the regulations. Regulations that I must add are very important, for they are there to protect the consumer. It took us a while but it was worth it, for I’ve learned a lot. At least we know where we are going.
Q: What is the growth potential of this new business?
A: I think is great. When I started Tola Mitsubishi, I had nine staff and when I sold it 21 years later, it had 40 staff. Now PIL has two employees with less than a year into the business and 500 plus clients. I can see it growing to a maximum of 15 – 20 staff, if and when we add additional services.
Q: What are the services you now offer?
A: We only offer auto insurance right now. With our auto insurance, we offer lower premiums, flexible terms, special rates for drivers 23 or older, speedy claim settlements, wider coverage and zero deductible for third party coverage. We are in the process of putting an application in to offer home insurance, contents, contractor risk and liability. Hopefully, within six months we’ll be carrying most of the products.
Q: What about health insurance?
A: We are leaving health to NHI (National Health Insurance). Plus, I think there are enough companies offering health insurance that are doing a good job. It will have to be based on demand that I start offering such a service.
Q: Is PIL an insurance company or an agency?
A: We are not an agency, we are an insurance company. We have a reinsurer that insures our risk just like any insurance company. Our risks are covered by one of the largest companies in the world, The Hanover Insurance Group from Germany which provides reinsurance for 70% of the Caribbean market.
Q: What makes your company different?
A: There are four distinct differences between Premier Insurance and other insurance companies in the BVI:
Q: What are your premiums like?
A: The average cost of third party insurance is $225, depending on customers’ driving history. With comprehensive, you can get a premium as low as $520.00 a year, but it depends on factors like the age of your vehicle.
Premier Insurance Ltd. is located on the second floor of the Chevelle Building, just above J&C Trading Ltd. The contact number is 1 (284) 495-6800.