Investment diaries: Danie Matthee - CEO of OUTsurance

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5 June 2018
OUTvest is an investment service that uses technology to put your money to work like the world’s smartest investors. In the “Investment Diaries” we feature interesting people from different backgrounds telling their financial life stories in their own words.

I had the privilege of some face time with the CEO of OUTsurance, Danie Matthee. We had 30 minutes together during which I learned about the life and financial lessons of an extremely dynamic man.

The company he heads up is OUTsurance, a leading financial services company, mainly specializing in short-term insurance, that boxes with the big boys of the industry, OUTsurance is currently just past 20 years old, where the more established competitors are past 100 years already.

Back to Danie, the quote from Canadian rapper Drake “started from the bottom now we’re here”, is a short snap shot of how Danie has progressed through the ranks at OUTsurance.

He started selling watermelons as a child with his grandfather for some extra pocket money, and now he heads up one of the largest short term insurers in South Africa, the same company where he started as a sales advisor 16 years ago.

So where did Danie’s journey start? While studying Human Movement Science at the University of Port Elizabeth, now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where like many young men at varsity he partook in rugby as a hobby to keep him busy in his spare time.

This unfortunately came to an abrupt halt as he suffered an injury when he cracked vertebrae’s in his neck. His studies took a knock as well, as the rehabilitation of the injury forced him to remain stationary, and unfortunately he could not continue with his degree.

Following this he started his career in his first commercial job at Auto and General (also a large short-term insurer in South Africa) as a call centre advisor which gave him his start in the financial services industry.

Part of his professional and life journey involved a move to Australia, where he headed up the Youi business, a direct disruptive short-term insurer that is part of the OUTsurance group.

His family relocated to Australia and lived there for seven years. When he talks about his years in Australia and Youi, he has plenty of fond memories of the business, the people and the lifestyle.

Danie's hobbies include, gym, running and golf. His favourite though is spending time with his three sons! Speaking to him you can see how important his family is by the way he refers to his wife and boys. His current short term hobby is building his new family home in a nearby estate in Centurion.

As a family they love going to Keurboomstrand, a beach town on the garden route of South Africa, where he catches up on some sleep and relaxes while reading non-fiction books.

We asked Danie to recommend the best book that he has read, his pick was a book titled “Exponential Organizations”, as it provides you with a template of how to expand as a growing business.

Another one of his all-time favourites is the quintessential business book “From Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Danie also recommends that you read widely to stay up to date with the new and the current events in daily life.

Danie has a number of heroes and mentors that he looks up to, from his dad, to teachers as well as current and past colleagues. Jeff Bezos is a significant figure that has influenced his thinking.

Through learning from his heroes and mentors, Danie stresses the importance of valuing people when growing a business, along with the mantras of growth and reinvesting. These allow you to build a platform to become an innovator and disruptor in the market.

We asked Danie about the most important financial lessons he has learnt! He strongly advocates paying off your debts first, save for a rainy day and invest in things that you understand. His lessons identify with key ideas that the investing wiz, Warren Buffet, lists in “buffettology”.

Danie believes that life should be lived in a balanced manner, you should get started and keep moving. As your talent can only get you in the door, but you need to work hard towards a goal that can make you successful.

His own mantra is that there is no perfect answer to life, every person should find their own path in life and make the best of it.

When I met Danie for the first time, the first thing I noticed, was his sense of purpose, the man walks and breathes purpose. From what I could assimilate in my 30mins with him is that he gives everything a good calculated go, with no regrets and always with a smile.

 

As told to Waldo Booysen exclusively for OUTvest; transcript edited and condensed for clarity. The views expressed are opinion based and should not be seen as financial advice
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