Inside Admiral

Andrew Rose, CEO of comparenow.com: Capability and Capacity are the People Definers here

I’m Andrew Rose, CEO of comparenow.com, Admiral’s American comparison business. I was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia, USA, but my Admiral career started at Capital Tower in Cardiff, Wales. That was five years ago. Prior to Admiral, I studied Engineering at Virginia Tech and then went on to complete an MBA at Darden, University of Virginia. I gained so much from the MBA: a broader business perspective and, vitally, the confidence to lead a large complex organisation.

What did I know about Admiral before I joined them? Nothing really. But that changed when I met with Louisa Scadden. She told me about their interest in expanding into the US - and I liked what I heard. In fact, once I’d done a ton of research and talked to lots of employees, there was plenty about Admiral that appealed to me: management tenure, culture, simplicity of management philosophy, entrepreneurial spirit and, of course, the people.

I spent the first three and a half years of my Admiral career building and running www.elephant.com, Admiral’s direct to consumer insurance company. Then, 18 months ago, Admiral made the decision to build a comparison business in the US and offered me the chance to lead it. You can imagine my response...

The US insurance market is a different animal to the one in the UK. For one, it’s huge, valued at some $166 billion with literally hundreds of insurance companies. But it’s not just its size: insurance shopping in the US is less frequent than in the UK. Even so, no one in the US was offering European style comparison. Until now, that is. While we’re still in Beta form, we’ve launched in the US and we’re making finding the best price on car insurance a much easier, much quicker process.

I’m immensely proud to be CEO of comparenow.com, incredibly proud to be part of the Admiral Group. And how would I describe Admiral? Let’s just say we’re different, maybe even a bit counter-culture. We re-invent industries rather than live in the establishment. We grow things from scratch, organically. If you have an ego you will not succeed here and we have absolutely no time, or patience, for politics. Being “anti-political” does not mean, however, that you are not a team player. Effective interaction with the team is required, as is challenging each other’s ideas to come to the best possible solution.

We’re always looking for individuals who will come up with a wealth of good ideas on their own, but also recognise the inherent creativity in all of us and accept willingly that the next great idea may not be of their own genesis. Flexibility is key, as we plan for the long-term but adjust continuously. We couldn’t care less about your pedigree or current job title if you can show us you can and will do the job well. Capability and capacity are the people definers here. We sweat the details and look at our numbers daily at the granular level. We are humble and modest but also aggressive and impatient. As leaders we struggle with the desire to do rather than just lead because we still love to “do”. Out of the box implies you believe there is a box.

I’m amazed at how fast five years have gone by. The most amazing part for me is the transportability of the cultural values of Admiral. People who like where they work and have fun being there, will do their job better for longer. It just works.

Andrew Rose, CEO, comparenow.com