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Executive Profile/Innovation

Carves Out

Its Youthful Insurance Industry Niche

Executive Summary: Innovation is in Friendsurance’s DNA, says co-Founder and Managing Director Tim Kunde. In a recent interview, Kunde talked about the company’s culture, how it’s looking to expand and the need to take employees seriously.

By Mark Hollmer

www.carriermanagement.com

F

riendsurance, a peer-to-peer insurance broker focused on making insurance easy and affordable to buy, seems right at home in Kreuzberg, perhaps one of the trendiest districts of south central Berlin. So does its co-founder and managing director, Tim Kunde. The neighborhood is not that far from the old Checkpoint Charlie border crossing between the former Communist East and free Western portions of the city. Today, the district houses a huge immigrant population, many of whom are Turkish.

Young 20- and 30-somethings from Germany and other countries also mill about at cafés, currywurst and doner kebab stands, shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. Friendsurance and Kunde (pronounced “Kund-eh”) moved their new headquarters into the heart of the district in late spring 2016, grabbing space on a busy block with old pre-war buildings that lack elevators but have plenty of bustle inside and out. Offices are mostly wide open, laid out loftstyle, with high ceilings and a black-painted concrete floor. Wallpaper with different kinds of dogs decorates one meeting space. There are also comfortable blue and purple couches. Foosball and ping pong tables are placed, invitingly, in the common area. Friendsurance employees don’t have a dress code. That came in handy when I visited Kunde on a hot and humid June 2016 day. Many employees wore shorts, including Kunde, the co-leader. “We love this office,” said Kunde, 36, who has salt-and-pepper hair, a short beard, and an otherwise youthful appearance and demeanor. “We invested a lot of time and thought into designing it, [and it] is supposed to be comfortable.” “Working comfortably means working and being yourself and getting respect for that,” he continued.

Looking to Expand

Friendsurance launched in 2010 with its

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Q4 2016 | 33

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