Tim Tebeila on Taking the Gap

Tim Tebeila on Taking the Gap


In launching Reliance Life earlier this year, mining magnate and serial entrepreneur Tim Tebeila has gone back to an industry he knows well. Back in 1995 he left a successful career as a top Santam insurance sales person to launch Morethi Insurance Brokers – a business he painstakingly built from the ground up.

Reliance Life addresses a similar market gap in targeting sectors that are under-serviced or viewed as high risk by traditional insurance companies. Tebeila talks us through the process of setting up this latest venture.

What is the business’s key differentiator?

We have identified niche, largely untapped markets. These comprise four main groups – pensioners, commuters, municipalities and unions. Pensioners are usually viewed as high risk but research I have recently conducted indicates that they are lower risk than was traditionally thought.

The other groups fall into the lower-income bracket and have also been under-serviced by the market. I’ve always believed that my businesses are a success because hand in hand with growing a business is growing a community. We want to empower our clients and stakeholders. Under-serviced markets have great growth potential.

How important are people in your new ventures?

I’m a firm believer in hiring great teams that understand your vision and are dedicated to the projects they spearhead. I’ve never been afraid to hire people who are better than me, so in my other ventures I’ve consistently hired the best.

The business is very new. Have you seen any growth to date?

Yes, we have. We started earlier this year and in just six months of operation we have passed the 200 000 client mark. The majority of these clients are based in the Eastern Cape but our business extends into Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KZN, the Free State and Gauteng. There is excellent potential for growth.

What advice would you give to aspirant entrepreneurs?

After being the driving force behind a number of successful enterprises you learn to be patient when you’re establishing a company. Understand that success doesn’t come as quickly as you think it will. But when things take time, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to happen. Learn to wait for the right time.

Vital stats

  • Player: Tim Tebeila
  • Company: Reliance Life
  • Started in: 2013
  • X-factor: Tapping into a largely untapped insurance market with massive growth potential.
  • Connect: www.reliance.co.za • +27 (0)11 706 3542

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