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Ernest North

Creating A Brand

A 15-year career in traditional insurance companies left Ernest North with no doubt that the industry was ill prepared to meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumers. And that is how three insurance actuaries came to create South Africa’s short-term insurance disruptor.

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As a qualified short-term insurance actuary with more than 15 years’ experience working for leading insurance companies in South Africa, Ernest knows insurance inside out. Before co-founding Naked, he was head of pricing at Hannover Reinsurance, actuarial and management consultant to insurance brands across Southern and East Africa, and underwriting and actuarial director at a leading South African car insurer. 

Inspired by the desire to restore consumers’ trust in insurance, and convinced that the insurer-insuree relationship can be vastly improved, Ernest and his two partners designed and built the insurance model that would become Naked. The business opened its doors in 2018. Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and automation, Naked offers customers significant premium savings and more control over both their insurance cover and the experience when buying it.


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Below is a preview of what you can expect to learn in this recipe. 

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About This Recipe


A brand is infinitely more than a name and a logo, payoff lines and corporate identity design elements. Memorable brands capture the essence of the businesses they represent so that there is no disconnect between what the brand promises and what the customer experience delivers.

Having built the Naked business and brand from nothing, Ernest North explains how the name and the brand became self-evident once the business model had been bedded down, and how the brand continues to guide and inform business decisions - down to every word and design element on the Naked app.

What You'll Learn


Ernest’s sharing of the Naked journey is as candid and honest as the business model he co-designed. He talks about early mistakes, such as outsourcing communication without clearly codifying the brand, and early successes, such as building a world-class team in the shortest possible time. He also acknowledges unexpected strokes of luck, notably COVID that drove consumers online.

Fellow entrepreneurs will find Ernest’s insights around how to use PR and traditional advertising to build an online brand invaluable, along with how to overcome the challenges of building a new brand in an industry that suffers from a poor reputation.

Ultimately, however, this recipe shows the impact that is created when the business is the brand, and the brand is the business.



Learn from someone who speaks from a position of real authority, perspective and experience.


Implement practical tips and techniques learned in the trenches - doing, rather than talking.


Join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs in our growing community and share your learnings as you go.

Get Learning

This entrepreneurial micro-course will take you only a few minutes per day (or you can binge if you want to). Feel free to skip around and please let us know what you think. 

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Deep Cuts 

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