Derrick Levy - Guru of the waterways
Boating World is proud to be celebrating its 11th year in the luxury boat industry and its 2nd year since expanding from Durban into Cape Town. Boating World has become an established leader among the marine industry’s elite dealerships. Specializing in luxury motor-yachts between 20 and 120 foot from prestigious brands like Fairline and Riviera, it has become synonymous with top drawer luxury; and well known for their absolute attention-to-detail concerning even the most basic necessity.
As a fourth generation family in the boating business, it is clear that boating runs in Levy's genes. His son, Dean, has inherited the same excellent talent, knowledge, and passion as his father and runs Boating International in Johannesburg, which specializes in smaller boats. His daughter, Caryne, runs the highly successful Club Marine Insurance, both which are in the boating world , and Club Marine Insurance is one of the biggest specialist boating insurance company in South Africa today. Derrick’s life partner and business partner, Suzanne Glock, is co-owner of the highly successful Boating World, which has offices in both Durban and Cape Town.
Derrick has steered the Boating World Group with great success through the years, by helping his clients make their dreams a reality and by bringing an unsurpassed degree of professionalism and service to the industry. It is with his intimate knowledge of boating that Levy has proudly secured the position of exclusive distributor of the prestigious Fairline Luxury Yacht brand, as well the Cruising and Fishing Motor Yacht brand, Riviera, in South Africa.
Levy’s art of selling, service excellence and his expert boating knowledge stems from his childhood, growing up on the Vaal River, where he inherited the love of boating from his father Arne. His father taught him everything there is to know about boats as a youngster and it wasn’t long before the ins and outs of boating became second nature to him. Involved from the age of 11 with the running of his father “Arnie’s Boatel” on the Vaal River where up to 60 boats were being launched a day over the summer week end, he was exposed to every possible aspect of the business from a very early age.
Levy also has a list of ‘water sports' achievements as long as his arm. Amongst others, he represented South Africa in Ski Racing (competing in all major international tournaments) and won the Italian Grand Prix on Lake Como. He has also represented the country in Barefoot Skiing and Boat racing, and is a qualified skipper for motor boats yachts up to 100 tons. And the amazing thing is that his father acquired his South African colours in power boat racing while both his children acquired their South African colors’ in waterskiing. So to say it runs in the family is indeed an understatement.
“To me, owning Boating World is not just work - it is my passion. And it's also an opportunity to show others something that I am very passionate about - the boating lifestyle” says Levy. “The memories and bonds families and friends create together while skiing, cruising, sport boating or fishing is irreplaceable”.
Optimism is something that Derek has perfected. Even back in the days when he’d work to launch boats at his father’s Boatel as a young boy, he was a visionary and achiever. “Because I come from a boating background, I understand what is important to clients”, he enthuses. For years there was a demand for him to open a branch in Cape Town, home to many of the bigger craft in the market. In the 2 years that he and Suzanne have been in Cape Town, the Boating World business has shown good growth. They have recently relocated their Cape Town branch from their offices in the V&A Waterfront, to a beautiful showroom on the water’s edge at the famous Water Club. The showroom is conveniently overlooking one of Cape Town’s biggest Marinas and of course offers instant access to the boats they sell. However Derrick believes he has only just scraped the surface of the potential for luxury boating in Cape Town.
Making a conscious decision to take on only the best of the best boating agencies, he decided that instead of investing in the ‘Volkswagens’ of the boating world that he wanted to specialize in the ‘Bentleys’ of the boating world – a term by which the Fairline brand is affectionately known. With this luxury focus, his main focus today is the British brand Fairline – made for luxury leisure cruising, and Riviera – another high quality boat brand from Australia. Levy advises potential buyers to make sure they know why they are buying a vessel in order to make the right choice to suit their needs. “Cape Town buyers tend to invest in luxury cruising style motor yachts with which they enjoy the local harbors surrounding the beautiful Cape coast, while the Riviera sport fishing yachts are popular for catching Yellow Fin Tuna, found in warmer waters about 40 miles off Cape Town, as well as crayfishing off Dassen Island” says Levy. “These are also very popular in the Durban and Richards Bay areas where buyers enjoy the thrill of catching Marlin, Barracuda and Dorado. Bottom fishing and cruising to the beautiful Mozambique island archipelago at Bazaruto has also grown in favour. South Africa’s good weather is of course also a big contributor to the success of boat sales in South Africa”, comments Levy.
For more information on Derrick Levy or any of Boating Worlds award-winning luxury motor yacht offerings visit www.boatingworld.co.za
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.