SchemeServe snaps up talent

SchemeServe, a leading cloud-based provider of insurance software, has today announced the appointment of two new experienced software technicians.

James McNab has joined from Open GI where he spent 8 years as its Underwriting Projects Team Leader, responsible for onboarding new clients and the development and management of new insurance products for insurers and brokers. James also managed Open GI’s team of five in the underwriting projects team.

Prior to Open GI, James was an account handler for Towergate, a motor underwriter for Ink Underwriting, and was also previously a HNW Client Manager at AON.

Michelle Osgood joins SchemeServe from the broker Eversure. She was previously a claims handler for Stackhouse Poland and prior to that an underwriting assistant for Temple Legal Protection. She draws on a valuable pool of experience from broking, underwriting and as a previous customer of SchemeServe.

Both Michelle and James have been appointed as Wunderwriters at SchemeServe.

Adam Bishop, CEO of SchemeServe explains: “All of SchemeServe’s 10 strong team of software technicians has valuable insurance experience – either as brokers or underwriters, or sometimes both! They come to us not only as experienced technicians, but also with knowledge of the industry which is important – it gives them an understanding of the issues and headaches that brokers, MGAs or insurers face. That’s pretty unique to SchemeServe and really important to us that we talk your language, and that’s why we call them Wunderwriters.

“I’m delighted to welcome James and Michelle. It might sound contrived, but our people really are our biggest asset – they are my main motivation for building this business.”

The two appointments come as part of SchemeServe’s ongoing growth plans and recruitment drive to stay ahead of increased demand for its services and to maintain high service levels. SchemeServe has hired seven new staff since the start of Covid-19.

Wunderwriters are responsible for building and shaping front end responsive interfaces for the insurance schemes on the SchemeServe cloud-based platform. The platform enables clients to launch bespoke insurance products in a matter of days and at a fraction of the cost of the big software houses, without sacrificing on flexibility, customisation or user experience.

Adam Bishop, continues: “Never before has the industry seen such demand for technology solutions capable of driving real practical and affordable change in the industry. SMEs brokers, MGAs and insurers are all taking advantage of the new and efficient distribution and marketing capabilities that SchemeServe has to offer. We are in the right place at the right time with a strong and talented team behind us.”

For further information please contact: SJ Wrigley at Spotlight Consulting: sj@spotlightconsulting.co.uk or 07909 546104

About SchemeServe

SchemeServe is a leading cloud-based provider of software to the insurance industry which has grown to operate more than 270 schemes and £240m of gross written premium per annum. SchemeServe is a white-labelled administration, distribution and underwriting SaaS solution for those operating delegated authority schemes business in both personal and commercial lines.

The company’s ‘Wunderwriters’ are all software developers and ex-underwriters. Using SchemeServe they work with brokers to design bespoke white labelled solutions for customers in double quick time.

The SchemeServe philosophy is Remarkable Schemes Made Simple.

Matt Field appointed to the Board at Direct Insurance Group

Direct Insurance Group, the fast growing International (Re)Insurance Group, has today announced that Matt Field has been appointed to the Board as Group Sales & Marketing Director.

Matt has been with Direct Insurance Group since 2016 when he joined as Business Development Manager for the North for its UK wholesale broking business DILM (Direct Insurance London Market). In 2017 Matt was promoted to Head of Marketing & Development. For four years he has been at the helm of the sales and business development teams as well as Head of Group Marketing and UK Sales.

Matt Field comments: “I’m delighted and honoured to be appointed to the Board. Anyone who knows me also knows that Direct Insurance runs through my veins – like a stick of rock. I’ve been with the Group now for just five years, but in that short time I’ve been a part of their hugely exciting journey and can’t wait for the next chapter. Its infectious entrepreneurial spirit drives us all forward – you can’t help but be impressed by the people and the Group’s collective ambition.”

David Bearman, Chief Executive Officer for Direct Insurance Group comments: “I’m delighted to welcome Matt to the Board. He’s a really nice guy. He’s talented, driven and committed to our vision. As a Group we’ve now surpassed the $500bn milestone so we’re well on our way. But for me this business is all about our culture and our people – seeing them grow. That’s why we’re wholly focussed on becoming the best global (re)insurance specialty wholesale business in the world; whilst that might mean we also become the biggest, the primary motivation is always to be the best.”

For further information, please contact: SJ Wrigley, Spotlight Consulting: sj@spotlightconsulting.co.uk 07909546104

About Direct Insurance Group

Direct Insurance Group is a one of the world’s leading and fastest growing independent Specialty insurance businesses trading $500m annually, with 13 offices globally. Through its international (Re)Insurance Broking and MGA operations, it offers clients a range of specialist and niche solutions in all lines of Property & Casualty (re)insurance.

Direct Insurance announces multi-million-pound investment in Operations & IT

Direct Insurance, the fast growing International (Re)Insurance Group, has announced a multi-million-pound investment in its Group wide Operations and IT to significantly widen its digital capabilities.

The investment will further develop the Group’s data, analytics and digital platform capabilities across its international operations which last year reached $500m GWP, building on its previous investments in IT and its existing ecosystem. The project will focus on the customer, simplifying internal processes and leveraging data to drive business decisions and a better experience for its partners and customers.

Tom Downs, Direct Insurance Group COO, has been recruited to lead the Group’s Operations and IT function and lead the digital transformation across the Group. A stella hire, Tom has 11 years’ experience of Operations and IT change management as Project Manager at Sompo Canopius and later as Operations Manager at Lloyds syndicate AEGIS. Currently with a team of seven Operations, IT and Project specialists, calling on cross-sector financial services expertise, Direct Insurance is actively recruiting to fill further roles in the team, including a Change Delivery Manager and a Data Quality Manager.

Tom Downs, Direct Insurance Group COO comments: “Direct Insurance is clearly an insurance Group that is aiming for the top. It is hugely entrepreneurial and not afraid to push boundaries. My team feel empowered to bring about real change. I’m excited to explore what our broader digital capabilities will achieve for the Group and its clients.

“As with all change projects, the nirvana comes from achieving just the right balance between quality, speed and cost in relation to all three pillars of systems, process and people. It is important to be prepared to adapt and evolve as you go and to re-evaluate after each phase. Get the balance right, have a clear vision and roadmap, with the right team and full backing from the Board, we will achieve transformational outcomes.”

The multi phased roadmap includes an enhanced pricing tool, a digital distribution platform, and a full overhaul of the Group’s IT infrastructure. It will digitalise the administration processes across the full risk lifecycle (underwriting, claims and finance) and build a rich repository of risk level data which then flows into a new online data analytics function, that it expects will be market leading. Its plug and play platform is an interoperable ecosystem of applications that enables a dynamic, quick, accessible way to write or broke business.

David Bearman, Direct Insurance Group CEO, comments: “Digital Transformation is a key strategic goal for the Group – a cornerstone of our growth plans. For us it’s not about keeping pace – we’ll be going further, using technology to cross boundaries and explore new horizons. Our operating model will maintain manual processes for those in the market that still choose traditional methods, but these will dovetail with our new digital capabilities, streamlining processes and increasing efficiencies. Leveraging data and digital technology will drive more business, deliver a first-class customer experience and bring more value to our clients and partners around the globe.”

For further information, please contact: SJ Wrigley, Spotlight Consulting: sj@spotlightconsulting.co.uk 07909546104

About Direct Insurance Group

Direct Insurance Group is a one of the world’s leading and fastest growing independent Specialty insurance businesses trading $500m annually, with 15 offices globally. Through its international (Re)Insurance Broking and MGA operations, it offers clients a range of specialist and niche solutions in all lines of Aviation and Property & Casualty (re)insurance.

Meet the Insurance Press

Interview with Stephanie Denton, Editor, Insurance Post

Spotlight Consulting’s SJ Wrigley talks to Insurance Post Magazine Editor, Stephanie Denton, about challenges for journalists during Covid-19, how the industry has kept her attention for more than 20 years, and her editorial plans for the magazine in 2021. Learn how the insurance industry can work better with the press this year and Stephanie’s answer to the most important question, ‘cheese or chocolate?’

 

 

Insurance PR

Berkeley Alexander launches COVID-19 Rent Guarantee & Legal Expenses policy

General Insurance provider, Berkeley Alexander (BA), has today announced it has partnered with Auto Legal Protection Services (ALPS), to launch a Landlord Legal Expenses and Rent Guarantee product appropriate for use during the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

Many insurers stopped sales of this type of product earlier this year following enactment of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which amongst other things suspended all possession hearings by the courts, making eviction impossible. In addition, there has been a 70% increase in the UK jobless total and a rise in Universal Credit applications, with predictions for a significant and severe downturn in the world economy over the coming months, leading to concerns within the insurance industry about rent arrears.

Mark Hutchings, Managing Director of Berkeley Alexander, explains: “Whilst the impact of the Coronavirus on the UK public is obviously devastating, landlords too have suffered financially from rent arears and quite rightly are unable to evict non-paying tenants during this period.  However, mediation is still available, and the associated legal costs and rent arears continue to accrue. At the outset of restrictions it was no surprise that many insurers pulled out of landlord legal expenses and rent guarantee products but I’m delighted that in partnership with ALPS we are able to provide this product for our brokers and advisers, giving them a valuable point of differentiation and providing their landlord clients with surety.”

The product is offered on a 12-month policy term. It will pay 100% of rent arrears paid up to possession and has a range of benefit levels and indemnity periods, up to a maximum of £2,500 and for up to 6-months.  The product will also cover the policyholder for legal disputes in relation to the tenancy agreement, pursuit of rent arrears and legal defence cover. It provides mediation and eviction costs up to £25,000.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, Berkeley Alexander currently provides services to over 3,500 firms in the UK. It provides a wide choice of quality general insurance policies to suit every level of customer need and budget across a range of product types, including standard and non-standard home, mid & high net worth, property owners (both residential and commercial) and all forms of commercial insurance.

Berkeley Alexander partners with Hanley Economic Building Society

General insurance provider, Berkeley Alexander, has agreed a deal with Hanley Economic Building Society, to be its preferred provider of non-standard landlord and home insurance.

Established in 1854, Hanley Economic Building Society is an award-winning building society with seven branches across North Staffordshire. Rooted in tradition, it combines the benefits of a mature organisation with the efficiencies of a modern business with high quality customer service at the core of its values.

David Lownds, Head of Marketing & Business Development at Hanley Economic, comments: “We’re very proud that for nearly 200 years we have been helping people in North Staffordshire to buy homes and protect their futures. It’s a big responsibility for any partner of ours to live up to, so we are delighted that in Berkeley Alexander we have found a partner that shares our values. They have one of the largest panels available on the market and a reputation for their specialist knowledge in landlord and non-standard insurance lines. I look forward to working together to offer valuable insurance solutions to our clients.”

Mark Hutchings, Managing Director at Berkeley Alexander comments: “Like Hanley Economic, we combine tradition with modern efficiencies, using our expertise and relationships, combined with online distribution, to ensure we get the right cover for even the most complex of risks. Never has this level of expertise been so important as during the current insurance hard market. Providers like us with the expertise and knowledge of the particular and niche risks involved in landlord and non-standard GI, can leverage our insurer relationships to ensure we get our most favourable terms for customers.”

SchemeServe Launches the API Builder

SchemeServe, a leading cloud-based provider of insurance software, has today launched API Builder, a new market first facility allowing schemes brokers to add any API (Application Programming Interface) to products themselves without needing any additional development.

Simple but powerful, APIs are widely heralded as the key to designing customer centric policies with minimal questions sets and enabling more accurate underwriting and pricing.  APIs are used to get 3rd party data in and out of a platform.  For example, this might include data from Companies House, or food hygiene ratings from the Food Standards Agency for certain commercial schemes including commercial combined policies.  In Marine, with the right API integrations, customers only need to give the shipping number and all other data fields can be populated automatically.

Adam Bishop, Founder and CEO of SchemeServe, comments: “These are just a few examples of the power of APIs.  The possible integrations across most lines are endless.  Getting automated access to the data speeds things up for the customer, informs the underwriting for accurate pricing and improves the CRM, giving MGAs and insurers an easy way to innovate and differentiate themselves in the market.

“This is the way the market is heading.  MGAs and insurers were increasingly asking us for custom API integrations, so we decided to build a simple ‘DIY’ system that allows them to integrate with any API themselves.  No lengthy design schedules or costly projects that run over time and budget…they simply choose their API and hook it up.  We have a recipe book of the most common and requested APIs, but the sky is the limit really.”

Insurers have been using APIs for years in a limited fashion, but the API Builder uses ‘REST APIs’ that offer greater possibilities and speed.

Adam Bishop continues: “This launch is highly significant, particularly in the current market where brokers will be looking to innovate to be more customer centric, to save time and be more efficient and to maximise income from niche areas.  The SchemeServe API Builder does all the leg work.

“This latest launch is one of many new initiatives we will be launching over the next 12 months. We have a highly experienced team of developers and web designers with exciting UI and UX capabilities that promise to transform the schemes market.  This year we celebrate our 20th anniversary, making us a veteran Insurtech and I’m thrilled that SchemeServe continues to be at the forefront of schemes innovation.”

For further information please contact:

SJ Wrigley at Spotlight Consulting: sj@spotlightconsulting.co.uk or 07909 546104

 About SchemeServe

SchemeServe is a leading cloud-based provider of software to the insurance industry which has grown to operate more than 270 schemes and £240m of gross written premium per annum.  SchemeServe is a white-labelled administration, distribution, and underwriting SaaS solution for those operating delegated authority schemes business in both personal and commercial lines.

The company’s ‘Wunderwriters’ are all software developers and ex-underwriters.  Using SchemeServe they work with brokers to design bespoke white labelled solutions for customers in double quick time.

The SchemeServe philosophy is Remarkable Schemes Made Simple

Direct Insurance London Market hires Mike Newson to Lead new PI & Financial Lines Division

Direct Insurance London Market has today announced the launch of its new PI & Financial Lines Division and the appointment of Mike Newson to head up the team as PI and Financial Lines Manager.

Mike Newson has been involved in broking and handling all aspects of binders and schemes for PI and various other financial lines within the London Market for the last 30 years. For 23 years Mike was at Willis, rising to Executive Director before joining AJ Gallagher as a Divisional Director.  Most latterly he joins from SSL Endeavour where he was Head of PI.

David Bearman, Chief Executive Officer for Direct Insurance Group comments: We are thrilled to launch our new specialist PI & Financial Lines Division and that we have secured Mike to lead the team.  Mike is very well known in the market and I’m delighted to have him on board.  His experience is across the full spectrum of client service, dealing with the insured, the regional or sub broker – handling the business from cradle to grave.  His expertise will help us to establish Direct Insurance London Market as a lead wholesale broker in PI alongside our existing lines.  His extensive market knowledge of PI as well as D&O, Cyber and other specialist products will be of immense benefit to our brokers and their customers, particularly in the current market environment.  We hope to recruit further talent to the PI Division in the next few months.”

Mike Newson commented: “Over the past 20 plus years Direct Insurance has established a strong reputation for its expertise in various specialist facilities including Asbestos, Waste, Property and High Risk Construction to mention a few.  It has had a modest book of PI and Financial Lines to date but there has been increasing demand from the market for Direct to develop its own specialist capabilities and delegated authority in these areas.  The Professional Indemnity market has great scope for growth and in a hard market is an area that will benefit greatly from a specialist wholesale service.  I’m very much looking forward to establishing the Division and maximising its potential within the Group.”

About Direct Insurance GroupFormed in 1996, Direct Insurance Group Plc has organically grown into one of the world’s leading independent Specialty insurance businesses, trading $450m,  employing 200 staff and with 15 offices located in the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Through its retail, wholesale and MGA platforms it offers clients a range of specialist and niche solutions in all lines of Property and Casualty (re)insurance.

Berkeley Alexander partners with Mortgages for Business in two year exclusive deal

General insurance provider, Berkeley Alexander, has agreed a two-year exclusive deal with specialist buy to let and commercial mortgage broker, Mortgages for Business, to be its preferred provider of commercial and general insurance.

Under the terms of the exclusive deal, Berkeley Alexander will provide the brokers’ customers with commercial and general insurance for all property types, including standard and non-standard.  Berkeley Alexander has one of the widest panel of insurers available on the market.  The arrangement will further help Mortgages for Business to maximise the service they deliver to their clients, via its introduction service.

Steve Olejnik, Managing Director at Mortgages for Business, comments: “We’re delighted to announce this partnership with Berkeley Alexander.  We offer a broad range of mortgages, so we needed a provider with an extensive appetite and an established reputation for expertise in non-standard and landlords’ GI in particular. They have one of the largest panels available on the market and this, together with their knowledge in the landlord insurance sector, makes them an obvious choice.”

Mark Hutchings, Managing Director at Berkeley Alexander comments: “We have a solid reputation for the strength of our insurer relationships which is never so important as during a hard market when premiums typically rise across most product lines.  Providers like us with the expertise and knowledge of the risks involved can leverage those insurer relationships to ensure we get the most favourable terms available to us.  Being able to combine efficient online distribution with the traditional approach of speaking directly to insurers ensures we get the right cover for even the most complex of risks.”

For further information please contact:

SJ Wrigley, Spotlight Consulting:        sj@spotlightconsulting.co.uk                          07909546104

About Berkeley Alexander Ltd:

Berkeley Alexander is a general insurance provider and part of the Ardonagh group of companies which employs 6000 people in 100 offices around the UK.  Berkeley Alexander offers directly authorised brokers and IFA/mortgage networks a wide range of both personal and commercial lines of insurance.  Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2020, it currently provides services to over 3,500 firms in the UK.  Drawing on a large number of insurers, it is known for its comprehensive range of competitively-priced products, including specialist non-standard insurance, and for its innovative approach to distributor partnerships.

About Mortgages for Business

Mortgages for Business is an independent mortgage broker specialising in buy-to-let, commercial, and residential mortgages. It sources finance for thousands of businesses, professional landlords, and owner-occupiers and with whole of market access, offers market leading mortgage rates and products. Mortgages for Business also brokers short term and property development finance. It is a founding member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers and is regulated by the FCA.  Mortgages for Business is the only UK broker to have been awarded NACFB Fellowship Status for excellence in business practices and customer service.

Mortgages for Business has won the following industry awards: Best Buy-to-Let Broker at the 2020 and 2019 What Mortgage Awards; Best Broker for Buy to Let at the 2019 Mortgage Strategy Awards; Best Buy-To-Let Mortgage Broker at the National LIS Awards 2019; and Commercial Finance Broker at the 2019 British Specialist Lending Awards.

Aventus secures its spot in the Global Top 100 Insurtechs

Aventus, the customer-centric insurtech platform enabling insurers and brokers to distribute insurance products via APIs through any channel, is delighted to be recognised in this year’s Insurtech 100 list released today.

The list is compiled by specialist research firm FinTech Global and identifies the world’s most innovative solution providers addressing the digital transformation challenges and opportunities within insurance. According to FinTech Global, the selection process was exceptionally competitive this year as over 1,200 innovative Insurtech companies were evaluated by an independent panel of analysts and industry experts to produce the Insurtech 100.

The finalists are recognised for innovative use of technology to solve a significant industry problem, to generate cost savings and efficiency improvements across the insurance value chain.

The Insurtech (insurance technology) industry has grown tremendously over the last three years as insurance companies grapple with the challenges of digital transformation, and more recently, remote communication post-Covid-19. Nearly $17bn has been invested in Insurtech companies since the beginning of 2017, according to figures published by FinTech Global.

As a result, this year’s process to identify the leading 100 companies in the Insurtech space was more competitive than ever.

Peter Goodman, CEO & Founder of Aventus, comments: “We’re incredibly proud to have been selected for this year’s Insurtech 100 list.  From our launch in February this year, we have moved quickly and taken the market by storm. We already have customers in the UK, US and Australia.

“Insurance customer experience is fractured and out of date. Insurers, MGAs, and Schemes Specialist Brokers currently don’t have a clear customer view.  Data silos and disparate systems breed inefficiency, stifle growth and prevent them from delivering customers a seamless buying experience. The market is now seeing how our technology is giving them an affordable route to developing their own ecosystem, making data work for them to delight their customers, and enabling upsell and cross-sell.”

The Aventus platform enables real-time analytics, taking customer data, third party and the insurer’s data, to give a 360° customer view. For example, the Aventus APIs create marketing triggers to the distributor and the provider, so they can return a quote estimate in real-time, tailored for the individual. The Aventus platform makes cross and up-selling easy and one-click insurance purchases a reality.

Peter Goodman continues: “As an API led Insurtech we are challenging and reimagining the insurance proposition. Over 50 integrations are already available with our platform. Our success so far in the UK, together with our cornerstone customer Stella in Australia, and the US, is evidence that the market has finally turned.  Those insurance companies yet to modernise will be left behind.”

FinTech Global director Richard Sachar said: “Established insurance companies need to be aware of the latest innovation in the market to remain competitive in the market post-Covid-19 which is heavily focused on digital distribution and increased use of customer data.  The InsurTech100 list helps senior management filter through all the vendors in the market by highlighting the leading companies in sectors such as underwriting, pricing, IoT devices, customer experience and data & analytics.”

A full list of the InsurTech100 can be found at www.TheInsurTech100.com. More detailed information about the companies is available to download for free on the website.

About Aventus

Aventus is a London-headquartered company that provides an Insurance Platform, to insurance businesses. The modular and API-based solution provides best-in-class technologies explicitly configured for the insurance industry.