Interview with Dave Gardner, founder of Evergreen Insurance Services
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do good just by buying all your essential goods and services as normal? That’s exactly the principal that Evergreen Insurance Services are built on.
Launched by experienced insurance expert Dave Gardener, Evergreen Insurance Services donate up to 25% of their profit from every policy to nature, wildlife, animal, conservation and environmental charities. So as well as protecting you with their policies, they’re helping to protect our planet. Here’s their story.
What’s your career background?
I have always worked and tried to support myself. From the age of 13 I worked in a gift shop in the summer holidays on the sea front in Weymouth, and then subsequently at Safeway supermarket (now Morrisons) while I was at college doing my diploma in business and finance.
I started a career in insurance in the mid 90s working in a call centre providing customers with home insurance quote. I worked my way up through the ranks to senior sales manager and held a number of senior management positions at various insurance brokers before setting up Evergreen Insurance Services, where I am the founding director.
Where did the idea for Evergreen Insurance Services come from?
I have a lifelong passion for our natural world, the animals that we share our planet with and the many other species that make up our habitats and it saddens me to see the constant destruction and cruelty to animals and wildlife, I wanted to do something to help.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I had the concept for my business but never had the funds to develop it into a live opportunity. I met two business men in late 2016 and I presented my concept to them. They bought into my ideas and have helped to fund the set up and development of Evergreen to get the business launched.
What’s your USP?
I work with and support several nature, wildlife, animal, conservation and environmental charities from the arrangement of every policy through us.
We offer personal service with professional advice and I donate up to 25% of our income back to one of my charity partners. To date we have helped with educational projects at a Wildlife Trust, and supported Lion Aid in their fight to stop the trophy hunting of African Lions.
We have also made regular donations to:
- Bumble Bee Conservation
- Butterfly Conservation
- The League Against Cruel Sports
- British Trust for Ornithology
- Mammal Society
- Wetnose Animal Aid
Who’s your target audience?
Likeminded clients who are looking for a more ethical approach to arranging their insurance; we are not in the price comparison site market and offer personal service.
We can help with anything from commercial insurance including liability, fleet and property through to personal insurance for homes, cars, travel, life, pets and social enterprise and charities – we can assist with pretty much any insurance need.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
We are very active on social media and engage with as many potential clients as we can, we also have affiliate marketing through our charity partners and other business connections, we also attend show and events.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Currently social media is the biggest source of enquiry to us.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Taking an idea from an initial concept into a new brand in an already crowded market and reach people who may be interested in our products and services.
And your proudest moment so far?
Launching my business and in the first 12 months being nominated for 2 awards one as best new comer in the Insurance Choice Awards and Customer Service Excellence Award for the donations we give to charity.
Why is work so important to you?
I like to keep busy and help people with their insurance, I like to develop a customer journey that I would like personally as a customer. I have had so many bad experiences with certain companies, I like to exceed expectations and at the same time knowing that everything we do is ultimately helping to raise money for our charity partners.
Who inspires you?
Deborah Meaden – I think she is an awesome business women and all the many other people who are helping to make a difference to our natural world.
How do you balance your business with your family?
There must be a balance and time to switch off, which is hard when you are starting something new and that you are passionate about. My partner is a senior lecturer in animal behaviour, so we have a shared passion for our natural world.
We spent a lot of our time working and if we aren’t working then we are out and about at various nature reserves enjoying the birds and other wildlife we spot. Many of our holidays are nature based, we tend to go to locations where we can see animals in their natural habitats free and wild.
What are your advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
Follow your heart, your values and don’t give up.
Why is Evergreen Insurance so important?
It’s a new concept and a way of helping our clients with their insurance but also protecting our natural world, it is a win win to me. It is often hard to balance the books at the end of the month and many people want to help support charities, but it isn’t always that easy with the pressures of every day living. If you know you are helping to support charities whilst purchasing products you need anyway then it must be a win.
Why should someone choose you over another provider?
If you are looking for a more ethical approach to arranging your insurance and prefer the personal touch – good old customer service as it should be. No complicated phone systems just straight forward help with your enquiry with quality experienced team of staff.
What are some of the examples of things you’re doing?
We are hoping we are helping to make a difference and helping our charity partners with their vital work. Last summer I donated £1000 too help fund an education project with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, developing conservationists of the future.
We have helped with nest boxes for nature reserves protecting habitats for some of the UKs most endangered birds and bats, we have helped with simple things like purchasing food to help at wildlife rescue centres and larger global protects to help the fight against trophy hunting.
If we can continue to grow Evergreen and help our clients with their insurance, just think of all the help we can give to charities to protect our natural world.