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“SKEMA continues to inspire me” - Gregoire Rastoul (SK 2009)

21 February 2020

At 35, Gregoire Rastoul is the founder and CEO of UEX in Singapore. This expat at heart talked to us about his great experience at SKEMA and his ambition to revolutionise the world of health insurance for individuals and SMEs. 

   

From SKEMA Lille to Singapore, how did you get to where you are now?

I have strong roots in Singapore, where I lived between the ages of 11 and 18. I sat for my Baccalauréat at the Lycée Français in Singapore, before returning to Paris to attend preparatory classes and study at SKEMA. As for my business partner, Clement Bouthelier, he’s my best friend from childhood. We met at the International French School (IFS). And actually these days, we are respectively president and treasurer of the school’s alumni association.      

    

In what ways has SKEMA helped you bring your plans to fruition?

The support for entrepreneurship and from professors who’ve worked in the business and corporate world is truly what has inspired me the most. The learning was twofold. Having a professional in front of you who is an expert in their field allows you to really get to the “meat” of the subject and go beyond the theory. Later, I was able to explore this learning model further thanks to SKEMA offering the possibility of doing a sandwich course (combined work and study). That’s how I discovered the world of insurance at Gras Savoye, where I was later hired.

Lille is an entrepreneurial hotbed. You can sense that the school is fuelled by this. The drive to create and the values of sharing in the north of France complement international development, SKEMA’s vocation. The major corporations like Decathlon show that it is possible to internationalise their value models. I continue to be inspired by this.

 

Tell us about your career path and how you came to work in insurance?

When the company where I was doing my sandwich course was bought out by an investment fund, I quickly decided to change my plans and was hired by Verspieren as head of affinity sport insurance, working with the French sports federations in particular, to insure their members.

When my wife was offered a position in Singapore, I approached the Verspieren family with the idea of launching an entrepreneurial model in Asia. My goal was to change the way people choose their health insurance. Today, it is crucial for people to personalise their health insurance according to their needs and our new, more nomadic lifestyles. When creating UEX, we started with that premise: to offer an insurance product and a programme tailored to each individual.

 

What advice would you give those wanting to start their own business?   

When wanting to start your own business it is crucial to acknowledge that you don’t know everything and to surround yourself with people who are experts in their field. The second important rule is that you can’t embark on an entrepreneurial venture without a truly complementary business partner. In the end, I partnered with my best friend, Clement, a highly organised engineer I’d known for 25 years. That was in 2016; UEX has now been around for four years.

We have managed to gain a foothold in the insurance market in Singapore. We have experienced ten times more growth than our competitors. Verspieren gave us six months to buy back their stake in UEX. After having considered several proposals, in January 2019 we received the support of a major insurance group specialising in health and established in Southeast Asia for many years.

 

How does UEX work? Why that name?

When choosing the name, we wanted to combine two strong pillars of our company. “You” is underlined, because we exist solely for our customers. The term “Experience” illustrates our model, which involves giving our customers the freedom to make informed decisions. The UEX logo shows an arrow pointing into a circle. This circle represents a community with the same needs in terms of protection. The arrow is in a different colour because every individual gets to choose their own forms of cover. This is the mutualisation model, based on solidarity.  

UEX positions itself as a third party you can trust. Our DNA is to change the habits of expats when it comes to taking out a health insurance policy. That means understanding, having the option to personalise, and making the purchase in total simplicity. We have made the entire process digital: once a customer has decided to work with UEX they no longer need us, they create their own account.    

The UEX’s value lies in the platform through which we create an interface based on the customer’s needs. Our goal is to adapt each individual’s specific cover by working on simplifying and harmonising their policy. There’s no one else quite like us in the insurance market.

Rather than going head to head with our competitors, we got the idea of offering our customers the platform of the future. That is how we came up with a new brand, called UEX Web Services. With this tool, 90% of the subscription process is done online and 10% through live contacts. Our goal is to position it as a leading platform in the local and international health insurance sales segment.

    

What are your plans for expansion in Asia?

We are looking at the possibility of expanding to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand, but keeping our roots firmly planted in Singapore. Much like SKEMA’s international strategy, our long-term ambition is to always be present!

 

Any last words?  

UEX’s leitmotiv, its DNA, is to assist French people with their health. We want to make it easier to access quality information to avoid serious health issues. We want to be a part of the community, with a strong desire to support French expats in Singapore.

 

Contact: Gregoire Rastoul (SK 1987), Founder & CEO of UEX

Interview by lepetitjournal.com for SKEMA Alumni

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