June 28, 2021
One of the fastest-growing financial services firms in The Bahamas, Simplified Lending, announced today it has acquired Affinity Insurance Agency, a full-fledged insurance agency regulated by the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas.
The announcement came from Simplified Lending’s founder and CEO, Robert Pantry.
“We are very pleased to announce that Affinity Insurance Agency is now a part of the growing Simplified Lending Group of Companies,” said Pantry. “Despite the fall-out from COVID 19, we continue to be extremely optimistic about the future of the Bahamas. Our acquisition strategy is to focus on the future with a growth and expansion mindset. Core to our growth strategy is to look for ways to add value to our clients as our aim is to the go-to boutique financial services group centered around personalized service.”
Affinity’s policies will include homeowners’, car and truck, marine and dock, public liability, directors’ liability, contractors all risk, fleet, hotel and hospitality and cyber security insurance in addition to life insurance and group and individual health insurance.
According to Pantry, initial discussions to acquire Affinity began in early 2021. Negotiations, closing on the purchase, regulatory approvals, leasing and upgrading space in Sandyport Plaza plus administration offices in Simplified’s new 3,000 square foot headquarters in RND Plaza, Thompson Boulevard, continued before and after the lockdowns with a determination to proceed.
“Over the past two years, even right through the pandemic, we listened to concerns of clients in businesses of every size about the rising cost of insurance, increasing requirements for coverage and, at the same time, a fear of more exemptions,” said Pantry. “We heard what those clients and colleagues said and asked ourselves, if we were able to bring innovation to residential and commercial mortgages and financing, why can’t we look at insurance with a view of how best to meet changing needs with a continued dedication to that personal service that helped us grow to where we are today.”
Founded in 2019 by Pantry with a staff of four including himself and an aim to make mortgages easier to acquire and more competitive in rates by representing the client and letting financial firms bid on financing, Simplified Lending today has a staff of about 25 and has handled millions of dollars in transactions. Affinity is its first foray into insurance.
Managing Director of Affinity Insurance is 25-year industry veteran and regional regulatory representative Patrice Rolle.
Rolle, who has been registered with the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas since 1999, holds a Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute in London and an MBA in Business Management Consultancy from Anglia Ruskin University in London.
In addition to participation in various training seminars and workshops, Rolle holds certification in a variety of insurance-related fields, including law as relates to insurance.
“I am excited about this new approach, looking at every case from a personal perspective as if we were standing in the shoes of the insured,” said Rolle. “Hurricane Dorian and COVID 19 have put a spotlight on the importance of having a back-up plan in the event the worst-case scenario occurs. We believe insurance is the best risk mitigation strategy to deal with life’s uncertainties.” Beyond the unpredictable, Pantry believes that insurance provides a sense of security without which business would not be able to operate and notes that the acquisition of an insurance agency created additional jobs.
“The stronger you are the more you can contribute to the economic pie,” said Pantry who spent nearly 20 years in commercial banking prior to launching Simplified Lending. “We demonstrated that in our hiring in recent months and we will soon start a recruitment drive to hire more individuals.”