Varun Dua


Acko General Insurance

Varun Dua is founder and CEO of Acko, an insurance carrier in India that operates in the P&C space.  

Prior to Acko, he co-founded Coverfox.com - India's first digital insurance broker business and also a software services firm creating middle ware solutions for insurance companies. He started his carer in insurance with AIG in India and was part of the early team that set-up AIG's business in India.

Acko is India's first digital only insurer and first of its kind model to receive the regulator's nod. It operates in retail lines with solutions across digital ecosystems in India and also auto insurance. The company is backed by investors such as Accel, Swiss Re and Amazon and the family offices of the Infosys co-founders.

Acko creates high frequency use case products around ride sharing, online travel booking, gadget purchases and also for a high growth traditional market like India operates on sharp pricing and digital distribution model for a traditional product like auto insurance.

The company aims to be multi-product line insurer in the personal lines space in India working across a range of traditional and new age products with digital distribution as it's core tenet.

Shirine Khoury-Haq

Chief Operating Officer

Lloyd's of London

Shirine Khoury-Haq joined Lloyd’s in July 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and her remit includes business transformation, global operations, data, information technology and corporate real estate. She is responsible for driving forward modernisation across Lloyd’s and the wider London market as the sponsor of the London Market Target Operating Model (TOM) initiative.

Shirine joined Lloyd’s from Catlin, where she was Group Head of Operations and UK Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this, Shirine was an Associate Partner at IBM, specialising in large systems and business transformation projects as well as post merger/acquisition integration. Shirine also had responsibility for Finance and Operations for several regions while employed at McDonald's Corporation.

Shirine holds an MBA from Ohio State University and is a US Certified Public Accountant.

Clive Humby

Chief Data Scientist

Developer of Tesco Club Card

Always the ideas man, Clive has a passion for finding the best route to engage customers in ways that drive sustainable growth and profits for brands. Now as Chief Data Scientist at Starcount, he continues to pioneer consumer centric Insights, analytics and profiling products.

Clive has nearly 40 years' experience in Customer Analytics across 30 markets globally. From creating the first geodemographic system, ACORN, in the 1980s, to developing the use of motivational segmentation in his current role at Starcount, Clive is acknowledged as one of the world's pioneers in the discipline.

With his business partner, Edwina Dunn, he co-founded global consumer insights business, dunnhumby, which revolutionised the use of transaction data for the FMCG industry, before expanding to work with a wide range of consumer facing businesses, from banking and telecommunications to department stores and online retailers.

He was first to coin the phrase "Data is the New Oil" and is consulted at all levels, from government on the implication of Data Science in the UK Economy through to individual clients where he leads key work streams designed to step change their businesses.

He has elected honorary Fellowships at the Institute for Direct Marketing, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and was made a Patron of the Market Research Society in 2013 and Companion of the Operational Research Society in 2014. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Sheffield University.

Adam Rimmer



Adam is co-founder of FloodFlash, a provider of parametric flood insurance. He previously spent five years with catastrophe modeller RMS, structuring and modelling triggers on over $2bn of catastrophe bonds and insurance-linked securities. He holds a degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge

Alison Dove

Head of market Communications


Alison Dove is Head of Market Relations and Communications at Placing Platform Limited, working with broker and underwriters across the London Market to engage and educate them on the Platform and a digital London Market. She has been at PPL for three  years, prior to which she worked at Lloyd’s of London for ten years working on a number of strategic initiatives to deliver significantly enhanced operating efficiency.

Arslan Hannani

Head of Market Management, Retail GI UK

Zurich Insurance

Arslan was appointed the Head of Market Management for Zurich UK in early 2017.  In this newly created role, Arslan’s responsibilities include proposition development, deal management, service delivery and operations. Additionally, Arslan and his team have a focus on bringing a new generation of customer centric, innovative propositions to market.  Arslan started his career as a graduate underwriter in Zurich’s UK business and has since held a variety of roles in both mature and emerging markets.  Before relocating to London to take up his current role, Arslan spent time working for the group’s strategy division in Zurich.  Prior to that, Arslan was based in Dubai and played a pivotal role in the creation of Zurich’s Retail division in the Middle East.  Arslan holds a degree in Accounting and Finance and spent most of his childhood as an expat, having lived in Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and now London.

Amit Dixit

Head of Operational Excellence Manager


Amit is an experienced leader within IT, Change Management & Operations with over 20 years’ experience in the Industry. As Head of OE within QBE Amit is responsible for setting up & driving automation capability within the organisation, setting up and leading process improvement & reengineering sprints, and leading a team of operations business analysts. Prior to joining as QBE , Amit was leading IT Services across Europe for Genworth Financial (earlier know as GE Insurance holding) where he held number of other Sr. positions over 15 years.

Avi Yaacov

Co-Founder and CEO


Prior to establishing PolyWizz, Avi was a partnership manager for life & non-life insurance company, helping insurers, brokers & agents unlock their customer potential with a data-driven approach.

Charlie Blackburn

Chief Technology Officer


Charlie Blackburn, chief technology officer, Azur


First computer: Lent a Compaq III aka the ‘lunchbox', in 1987 so I could work at the weekend

First mobile phone: Motorola Flip phone

First job: John Brown Engineering

Digital hero: Marc Benioff

Best thing about your current job: Learning new stuff

Last time you wore a tie: For lunch at the City of London club (they had to lend me one)

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?: A sextant, brilliant in its time but there are better tools today

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?: Anything useful

David Ovenden

Global Director, Pricing, Product, Claims and Underwriting

Willis Towers Watson

David has a blend of technical and general management experience developed in the UK and international GI markets. Over the last 25 years he has held as mix of both strategic and operational leadership roles, including; Managing Director, Chief Underwriting Officer, Insurance Risk Director and Commercial Underwriting Director for non-life operations across the UK, Europe and Canada.

Role at Towers Watson

David leads the Pricing, Products, Claims and Underwriting Practices across both software and consulting. Working closely with the Actuarial and Software teams across Life and P&C, he is responsible for the Radar Suite of software. David’s interests include:

  • Transforming business performance
  • Deploying best practice underwriting, pricing, claims and portfolio management
  • Extending the lifespan and functional capabilities of legacy IT platforms to facilitate digital transactions
  • Deploying intelligent automation, including machine learning algorithms across the underwriting process
  • Data driven decisions - Improving management information, and the use of external data to support portfolio and case underwriting decisions
  • Improving technical pricing approaches in commercial and specialty lines of business.
  • Developing capital allocation methodologies that reflect the inherent risk mix in a portfolio
  • Disruptive products and distribution

Education and Credentials

David has a degree in Insurance, Banking and Finance and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Insurers.

Darrell Samson

Chief Customer and Innovation Officer


Darrell Sansom, Chief Customer & Innovation Officer, AXA UK and Ireland, leads strategies for brand, innovation, customer experience and digital at AXA – the number one insurance brand in the world.

Darrell has over 27 years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning his career as a broker before joining Commercial Union for 10 years. In 2001, Darrell joined AXA where he held a number of leadership positions – including Regional Manager for AXA in Scotland and Head of Partnerships – before becoming Managing Director of AXA Business Insurance in 2011. After leading the business through six years of impressive growth, a digital transformation and multiple award-winning marketing and communication activities, Darrell took up his current role on the Executive Committee for AXA UK and Ireland.

On top of his day job, Darrell’s an executive sponsor and champion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He’s also frequently invited to share his knowledge as a featured guest speaker and judge at industry events.

Darrell’s a firm believer in professionalism within the insurance industry and a keen advocate of customer transparency and using digital to better inform and support the insurance market.

Dylan Bourguignon

Founder/ CEO


Dylan is the CEO of so-sure. He is an investor turned entrepreneur and was in strategy consulting and private equity before he left his job to rethink insurance for the consumers’ benefit. Frustrated by the insurance sector’s focus on profits rather than consumer needs, Dylan launched so-sure. He has an MBA from Harvard, a MEng from Bristol and a Diplome d'Ingenieur from ENSAM (France)


Ed Gaze

Senior Manager Lloyd's Lab

Lloyd's of London

Ed Gaze joined Lloyd’s in August 2018 to run the newly established Lloyd’s Lab. A newcomer to the insurance industry, Ed has spent a combined ten years at KPMG and EY, mainly with a focus on data, analytics, and technology management consulting in retail, consumer goods, energy, and government.

He is currently working with Lloyd’s partners and managing agents to ensure the first cohort of ten start-ups can maximise their opportunity on the ten-week, fast fail programme. In addition to this, Ed is working closely with the market and other stakeholders to make the Lloyd’s Lab the place to go for innovation in the market.

Erik Abrahamsson


Digital Fineprint

Erik Abrahamsson is the founder and CEO of Digital Fineprint (DFP), London-based insurtech startup. He founded the company in 2016, while doing his MBA in Oxford. Originally from Sweden, Erik graduated with a BSc from King's College London and was awarded a full scholarship for MBA studies at The University of Oxford. Previously, Erik worked in strategy for Twitter in Singapore, and as a finance manager at Procter & Gamble in Switzerland.

While working at Twitter, he saw that many industries were being changed as social media became more widespread. He saw an opportunity to transform the insurance industry by bringing data analytics knowledge that was not previously used in this sector. After talking to industry participants and partnering with investors at Eos Venture Partners, DFP launched their first product proposition in the insurance industry.

"Digital Fineprint was founded to bring ground-breaking technology into insurance industry helping insurers to gain new customers and new data points, become more efficient and digitalised...", says Erik.

DFP is now scaling up further with the global sales pipeline and funding from Pentech and Eos Ventures ($3.1m in total). Today DFP works with Allianz, Hiscox, QBE, Met Life and is expanding their market reach in the UK and abroad.

Glen Clarke

Head of Transformational Propositions


Glen joined the insurance industry in 2009 after previously working for British Airways. He joined Allianz as a consultant, to support taking Allianz’s direct car and home product to market and soon after helped shape Petplan’s product and distribution strategy. In 2012, Glen moved into the role of corporate partner strategy manager where he was a key member of the team developing the motor manufacturer partnerships accounts.

In 2014 he was promoted to the position of head of telematics where his responsibilities were to develop and deliver  customer telematics propositions, develop pricing approaches and optimise business models. Glen sat on Allianz’s Global Telematics Steering Group.

Following a restructure of Allianz’s trading areas in April 2016, Glen was promoted to his current position of head of transformational propositions where he is responsible for the development, testing and deployment of next gen propositions across all business lines .

Harry Franks

Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer


Harry is Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder of Zego. In 2016 Harry and his co-founders launched Zego, a tech enabled insurance intermediary, servicing commercial customers in the modern world. Zego now boasts a team of nearly 60 people in London and Madrid. With a total of ten years experience in startups, Harry’s focus has been on the emerging on-demand space, working across a range of high growth startups in the UK and US. He has lead Zego through seed investment from LocalGlobe, and more recent investment lead by Balderton Capital. His focus has been on partnerships with leading companies in the on-demand space and within the insurance sector, facilitating Zego's growth in the UK and into international markets

Huma Lodhi

Principal Data Scientist

Direct Line Group

 Huma is Principal Data Scientist at Direct Line Group. She has over 15 years of experience in Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning across both industry and academia. She is an accomplished expert with hands on experience in development and application of deep learning, kernel methods, relational learning and ensemble methods for areas ranging from insurance to health care. 

Huma has a PhD in Machine Learning from University of London. She is a co-editor of two books and has published many research articles in leading AI & Machine Learning journals and conferences.

Huma regularly speaks on AI & Data Science at industry business events and is keen to transform industries by the use of these techniques.

Jacqueline McNamee

Founder and CEO

C-Quence Technologies

Jacqueline founded the digital MGA C-Quence to deliver a radical, powerful, transformative and highly efficient way of trading and servicing mid market commercial insurance. The objective is to modernise the market by developing smart technologies that are intuitive and adaptable; by putting data and data analytics at the heart of everything and by creating innovative insurance products for open market and facilities business.

A strategic thinker she held senior roles in AIG including a successful spell as MD of AIG’s multi-billion dollar UK business. In addition she held a number of senior underwriting positions in Commercial and Financial Lines in London, New York and Dublin.

She was a board member of both London Market Group (LMG) the International Underwriters Association (IUA).

Jacqueline is a qualified engineer with a BSc (Hons) from Trinity College, Dublin

Jane Disney

Industry Principal & Value Adviser


Jane Disney is Industry Principal and Value Advisor at SAP. She has worked in the Financial Services sector for over 25 years and has significant experience across banking and insurance. At SAP, Jane is responsible for strategy development and thought leadership, plus executive-level demonstration of the value and innovation delivered by SAP solutions in driving digital transformation throughout the insurance industry.

James Breeze

Digital Artificial Intelligence Theme Lead

XL Catlin

James is the Digital Artificial Intelligence Theme Lead at XL Catlin one of the largest insurance/reinsurance  companies that offer property, casualty, professional and specialty insurance
products globally. James has spent the last year working on the XL Catlin Global Technology Digital Program leading research into AI technology and applying it in the world of commercial insurance. Prior to insurance, James spent nearly 20 years working in the Telecoms industry with a focus on Data and Business Intelligence.

James Gibson

Business Development


James is Insurance product owner at Revolut, the banking alternative for today's international consumers which as of April has 1.7m customers across Europe. Revolut recently launched Pay-per-Day travel insurance, a global first which uses the phone's geolocation to automatically cover customers when they are abroad. Previously, James spent 4 years at Oliver Wyman, a strategy consulting firm, where he focused on digitising retail and business banks across Europe.

James Tootell


Eos Venture Partners

James Tootell is a Director at Eos Venture Partners, a Venture Capital firm focusing exclusively on InsurTech. At Eos, James focusses on the sourcing, evaluation and execution of early stage and growth stage investments.

Eos has four cornerstones that underpin its approach:

  • Exclusively focused on InsurTech
  • Global footprint to identify and source opportunities
  • Thesis driven manufactured approach to create unique deal flow
  • Alignment with insurers to constructively innovate

Prior to joining Eos, James was an Associate Director at KPMG within the Insurance Deal Advisory team where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. James has extensive transaction related experience in the insurance sector, including general, life, Lloyd’s and distribution

Jeff Manricks

UK Director

Shift Technology

Jeff Manricks is the UK Director at Shift Technology, with over 15 years of experience working with insurers to drive innovation and efficiencies. Jeff believes that true innovation is driven from the perfect mix of both people and technology while keeping the customer experience at the forefront of all innovation. Shift Technology are helping insurer clients to win the war against insurance fraud & automation of the claims process, solely focused on the global insurance sector, Shift exploit the best of AI and Machine Learning to help insures save money whilst maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction.


Johan Strydom

Product Development Director

My Policy

Johan is a qualified actuary and Product Development Director of My Policy.  He has 19 years of experience pricing insurance products but focussed his time on pricing and developing Telematics motor policies over the last decade.  As an actuarial consultant he was advocating to insurers to start pricing motor insurance on a per mile basis.  Today he is doing it in My Policy.  He believes pricing per mile is the future of motor insurance.

Kate Wells

Managing Director


Kate Wells is the Managing Director of Azur Underwriting.    Azur is a Managing Digital agent formed in 2016.  Kate Wells is responsible for all aspects of the Private Client suite of  products including product development, product innovation,  rating, underwriting and claims.  Azur’s mission is to reimagine insurance and create a differentiated user experience through technology and innovative customer centric products.

Kate has more than 28 years of personal lines insurance experience. She joined Azur along with her entire team from AIG following the formation of Azur.

Prior to joining  Azur, Kate worked for AIG in various roles and for  leading brokers Marsh and HSBC in Management positions in the High Net Worth arena.

Ken Marke

Chief Marketing Officer


Ken has spent over 30 years in the insurance industry in the UK, Europe and Asia mainly in corporate and strategic development roles. As Head of Strategic Futures, his focus is on identifying long term trends through systematic horizon scanning and scenario development. Through this, Ken helps Ageas anticipate future opportunities and plan for longer term disruption. The main objective of his role is to help the business avoid the question "why didn't we see that coming".

Kenny Leitch

Global Connected Insurance Director

RSA Group

Kenny heads up RSA's Connected Insurance Centre of Excellence, leading on how RSA leverages value from motor telematics, connected home and pet tracking technology; as well as heading up RSA’s involvement in the autonomous car space. A key part of his role and a great source of learning, is having P&L responsibility for the two young driver telematics portfolios that RSA underwrites in the UK - ingenie and MORE TH>N SM>RT WHEELS.

Kenny was previously UK pricing director for RSA with responsibility for all of RSA’s personal and commercial products and has been with the company around eight years. Prior to RSA, he was with Aviva and legacy companies for 22 years in a variety of senior roles, spanning product management, strategic marketing and affinity new business, as well as pricing, underwriting and reserving. He is an actuary by profession and at weekends - and when not injured! - can be found running up and down mountains.

Kristian Feldborg


Vesuvio Labs

Kristian is Co-founder and CTO of PolicyCastle www.PolicyCastle.com. PolicyCastle is full stack InsurTech, building a new digital broker business for non-standard home insurance (and soon other personal lines). Kristian has developed financial services applications for 15 years and also co-founded www.justcompare.ca and www.vesuviois.com. Prior to that he set up and managed the R&D centre that spun off www.fenergo.com .

Laura Mullaney

Director of Digital Propositions

BLG Group

Laura Mullaney is Associate Director of Digital Propositions in the Insurance Distribution and Outsourcing division at BGL Group, specialising in digital customer experience. Laura has played a key role in developing the Group’s digital transformation capability, working across customer experience, commercial and  business technology functions. This has included the introduction of design-led thinking and collaborative working to drive a culture of innovation and customer-centric delivery.

Lou Lwin

Head of Enterprise Architecture


Lou has 27 years of experience in Technology, covering everything from Infrastructure to Security, Data Centre to Cloud, IT Operations to Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation to Innovation, holding several senior leadership roles along the way.

Having spent the last 6 years working at Markerstudy, Lou has led numerous digital transformation initiatives in both technology and workforce across a very complex environment.

Leading teams of experts to turn business challenges into business as usual, Lou has achieved a reputation for executing rapid change and achievable IT strategy.

He is currently focussing on legacy modernisation and Robotic Process Automation.

Michael Ashton

Senior Executive

Gibraltar Finance

Michael Ashton is a senior executive for Gibraltar Finance having worked for 20 years in insurance. He held a number of senior management roles in the Lloyd’s Market including COO of ACE Global Markets at the time the largest syndicate in Lloyd’s. For 10 years he worked outside the insurance sector until joining Gibraltar Finance in 2013.

During the dotcom boom of the late 1990s he was appointed CEO of dotRisk, a digital commercial insurance and claims marketplace whose original consortium members were JLT and ACE.

Michael qualified as a chartered accountant


Nick Blewden

Head of Data Product Development

Lloyd's of London

Nick Blewden is the Head of Data Product Development at Lloyd’s of London.  This role involves creating a range of outputs that provide people with  insights to save money, avoid cost, increase revenue or aid decision making.  Before Lloyd’s, Nick worked at KPMG and Accenture delivering Data Analytics solutions to a range of clients across industries.

Paul Ridge

head of Insurance, UK & Ireland


With more than 10 years’ experience of helping retail financial services customers exploit the value of advanced analytics, Paul has experience in marketing, fraud, risk and other domains. 

The last four years of his career have been focussed on the UK insurance industry, working with customers to embrace new data sources, data management best practice and new analytical techniques. 

Paul has a particular interest in the internet of things, and its potential to change the societies we live in and support a new wave of innovation.

Ranvir Saggu



An experienced insurance executive with over 25 years’ in-depth experience across composite insurers, MGAs, brokers and claims TPAs, including: CEO responsibility for BUs where he has driven growth and performance improvement; and CFO and IT director roles in turnaround businesses. He is accomplished in change-management delivering large transformational programmes and building high-performance teams. Hands-on experience across international businesses, PE backed ventures and regional SMEs.

Ram Srinivasan



"Are you sure you're making the right decision?" 

That question from HAL has intrigued Ram ever since he was a young kid. How can a computer be better than a human? That question started Ram's fascination towards AI and lead to starting ZASTI, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology platform that focusses on improving business efficiency and delivering tangible cost savings to customers. He has more than 18 Years of experience working with Fortune 100 across 12 countries. In his last avatar, he was leading the Digital Business for Cognizant in Europe and APAC region. His passion towards innovation helped him win 8 international product awards and he has developed more than 40+ products during his tenure. 

In his leisure time he loved riding his vintage and sports motorbike in county side and he is also a passionate old school audiophile. He has varied educational background from Management to English Literature to Design certifications from IIT-Mumbai.

As HAL Says "It can only be attributable to human error" Shouldn't we solve that?

Steven Mendel

Founder and CEO

Bought by Many

Steven founded Bought By Many (www.boughtbymany.com) to create better insurance for everyone. Bought By Many was founded in 2012 with the creation of groups for people with specific insurance needs and the negotiation of deals and discounts with established insurers. Bought By Many launched its own unique products– pet insurance for cat and dog owners in 2017, and travel insurance for people with medical issues and for owner run businesses in 2018. Technology is core to Bought By Many, from data analysis that informs policy design to developing admin systems and they were recognised as one of the UK’s top Fintech companies in 2016, when they we were featured in the European FinTech50 list and in 2017 were named as one of 15 ‘Ones to Watch’ by the Sunday Times TechTrack. Their Feefo rating is 4.8/5.0 among the highest across all industries.

Steven is an actuary and previously ran Close Brothers Wealth Management, worked as part of the team that formed Barclays Wealth and headed the McKinsey UK Savings and Investment Group.

Steven Wilkins

Head of Data Labs


Steven Wilkins started his career as a catastrophe modelling analyst in the reinsurance team at Hiscox before applying his technical and analytical knowledge and experience to broader company strategy as Head of Underwriting Insight. In this last role, his work covered all areas of analytics and he supported the Group Chief Underwriting Officer in driving profitable underwriting decisions.

In 2018, Steven became the Hiscox Group’s Head of Data Labs where he has a focus on driving projects that deliver business value from data and analytics. He also has a keen interest in the Insurtech movement.

Tiffany Carpenter

UKI Head of Customer Intelligence Solutions


Tiffany has spent over 20 years helping organisations transform customer experience across their sales, service and marketing operations. In her current role at SAS, she guides organisations on the application of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to harness customer insights and deliver relevant one-to-one experiences.

Tiffany is also co-founder of Griswold Studios, a boutique fitness concept delivering personalised fitness programmes powered by data and analytics.  

Tobias Taupritz

CEO and Co-Founder


Tobi is the CEO & Co-founder of Laka, straightforward cycle insurance powered by the community. Prior to this, he has spent several years in Corporate Finance, covering FinTech & Insurance clients at Barclays and KPMG.

Advisory Board members

Andrew Rear

Chief Executive

Munich Re

Andrew Rear, Chief Executive, Digital Partners, Munich Re

"I'm just trying to live in the future, in an industry that lives in the past"

First computer: ZX Spectrum

First mobile phone: Nokia 1610 - the one before the classic Nokia

First job: Barman, waiter and part-time film extra

Digital hero: Clive Sinclair

Best thing about your current job: The pace and vision of our start-up partners

Last time you wore a tie: When I go to our head office in Munich (mostly to ask for money...)

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? Fixed-line telephony

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Regretting it

Andy Ford

Senior business architect


Andy Ford, senior business architect, QBE

Bill Gates once said: "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." As an industry if only we applied those rules our customers' experience would be so much better, both service and price-wise.

First computer: Sinclair ZX81

First mobile phone: A Nokia brick

First job: Engineering Insurance Underwriting Clerk (would be called Underwriting Assistant these days I guess)

Digital hero: Where would we be without Sir Tim

Best thing about your current job: Varied, interesting, shaping

Last time you wore a tie: At my daughter's wedding a couple of weeks ago

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?:  A shiny piece of tech at the heart of which is one of those old counting machines with big buttons and a lever. Harsh, but... ?

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?: Routine stuff

Back to Activist Board

Bea Montoya

Marketing Channels Director

Simply Business

Bea Montoya, Digital Marketing Director at Simply Business, is focused on spreading the word of Simply Business to the UK’s small business and landlord community through customer-focused and data-driven marketing. Bea is responsible for innovation across our marketing strategies, with data, technology and personalisation at the core.

Since joining in 2015, Bea’s successfully integrated key technologies and introduced agile methodologies to the marketing team. As a member of the Exec team, Bea is also a key driver of Simply Business’ award-winning culture, ensuring we're always working in an open, collaborative environment and championing diversity

Before Simply Business, Bea spent time at Euromoney, in their London, New York and Paris offices, and more recently, she was Time Inc.’s Consumer Marketing Director.

You can learn more about Simply Business by visiting their website, or getting in touch on Twitter @simplybusiness. Connect with Bea on Twitter @beatrizmontoya, and on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/beatrizmontoya.

Cameron Shearer


Digital Risks

Cameron Shearer, CEO, Digital Risks

Sticklers for compliance greet new ideas with what "can't be done". Challenge what lies behind the status-quo - that's where true innovation begins!

First computer: Amiga Commodore 64, there was something very satisfying about pressing those keys.

First mobile phone: Ericsson GH 388 I think - No games, no texts, just good old-fashion calls.

First job: Working with the IT and engineering guys at my Dad's company - all super smart, all innovators.

Digital hero: There are so many new concepts and ideas that blow my mind on a daily bases - I could have a hero of the hour!

Best thing about your current job: The new challenges my team overcome everyday!

Last time you wore a tie: Ummm ... can't remember.

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?
A pocket watch. Many moving, complex parts. Does the job. Room for improvement.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?
Anything new and exciting!

Back to Activist Board

Charlie Blackburn

Chief Technology Officer


Charlie Blackburn, chief technology officer, Azur


First computer: Lent a Compaq III aka the ‘lunchbox', in 1987 so I could work at the weekend

First mobile phone: Motorola Flip phone

First job: John Brown Engineering

Digital hero: Marc Benioff

Best thing about your current job: Learning new stuff

Last time you wore a tie: For lunch at the City of London club (they had to lend me one)

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?: A sextant, brilliant in its time but there are better tools today

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?: Anything useful

Darius Kumana



It is no surprise that the youth of today are disenchanted with the insurance industry. Corporates riddled with complexity, selling yesterday's products with yesterday's tools for those living yesterday's lifestyles. It is long overdue for a radical re-think so that it can deliver products and services that they feel part of and want to buy.

First computer: A Kaypro II. My childhood is full of fond memories scouring the backstreets of Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong for hardware and software and trying to learn as much about technology as I could. The more I learnt, the more I began to realise that the tech wasn't actually the interesting bit.... it was really understanding people, their motivations and their pain-points - then thinking about the ways technology could be creatively applied to solve real problems.

First mobile phone: Nokia 3310 - I loved Snake. (My 10 year old daughter recently coded a version of it on her Kano - It turns out I'm still pretty good!)

First job: Many years ago I left the confines of academia (where I was looking at the applications of virtual reality to low cost internet conferencing) to start a job as a front-end engineer for a top technical consultancy.

Digital hero: Ada Lovelace. She saw further into the future than any of her male counterparts. Able to see the beautiful human potential in all those 1s and 0s...

Best thing about your current job: We are currently in the early stages of shaping our proposition. There are so many different avenues to explore and so many opportunities to add tangible customer-focused value. Every day is different and we are constantly learning and meeting great people. Each day makes us more excited about the potential impact we can have to benefit the industry.

Last time you wore a tie: I met someone in the lobby of Lloyd's just before Christmas to find out more about their plans for an innovation hub.

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? "A faster horse." ;-)

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?
Teaching mixed-martial arts full time. (At the moment I only get to teach on evenings and weekends)

Dylan Bourguignon

Founder/ CEO


Dylan is the CEO of so-sure. He is an investor turned entrepreneur and was in strategy consulting and private equity before he left his job to rethink insurance for the consumers’ benefit. Frustrated by the insurance sector’s focus on profits rather than consumer needs, Dylan launched so-sure. He has an MBA from Harvard, a MEng from Bristol and a Diplome d'Ingenieur from ENSAM (France)


Freddy Macnamara



Freddy Macnamara, founder, Cuvva

In the words of Nike "Just do it"

First computer: I think it was an IBM Thinkpad (circa 1998)

First mobile phone: The classic Nokia 3310.

First job: Oh is was very, very menial but on the plus side it gave me time to think.

Digital hero: Can I take the digital part out? I'd say Elon Musk either way. From PayPal and Tesla to SpaceX; what's not to admire?

Best thing about your current job: We are doing something that has not ever really been done before. So, it's an exciting time for us, while simultaneously terrifying as there isn't really a handbook we can refer to.

Last time you wore a tie: A few weeks ago.

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?
It's a tricky question. I did hear it described as a "Flying Shuttle" Loom; in the sense that it is perfectly designed for its initial purpose but market demand and expectations have changed. We need to embrace the benefits of digital and refine the tools we are working with in order to keep up.

Who is the best person to lead the insurance digital revolution?
Permissionless innovation has no leader. It's not so much about having one person who will drive things forward, as it is about making a collective decision; that, with digital, we are able to change things for the better.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing?
I really don't know. One of the great things about our business, and the speed of change in the digital industry as a whole, is we don't get an awful lot of time to think about what could have been.

Gordon Rutherford

Head of marketing & e-commerce

AXA Business Insurance

First computer: Advent PC

First mobile phone: Nokia something

Digital hero: Maybe obvious, but Steve Jobs. Why? When he returned to Apple they ran ads that talked all about the product (a metal box with components that processed things). He scrapped that and made it all about aspiration, lifestyle and how the product makes people feel. He then tapped into the consumer zeitgeist and developed the most desirable products.

Best thing about your current job: The pace and the level of empowerment and creativity to get things done.

Last time you wore a tie: Last Thursday at our CEO's Leadership Day

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? A pre-digital camera. The world is changing all around, but we are kinda drifting along oblivious. Although, some insurers will develop digital cameras just in time.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Rock Star/Author. Or hobo.

The biggest challenge for insurance sector? Failing to understand how consumers are changing and how they buy and consume products & services. They rule, we don't. Most FS companies don't get that yet.

Jacob Abboud

Chief Information Officer

Allianz Insurance

Jacob Abboud, chief information officer, Allianz Insurance

Digital is not IT, it is a cultural & business mind-set placing the customer at the heart of everything we do

First computer: BBC Micro

First mobile phone: Nokia - the real brick!

First job: Research Officer at Bath University

Digital hero: Elon Musk. He made game-changing contributions to the application of digital & other technologies

Best thing about your current job: Enabling and adding value to the business. Championing digital-by-default and data transformation at Allianz both locally and also globally working with my Group colleagues.

Last time you wore a tie: I tend to wear a tie to formal meetings which sadly tend to be fairly frequent

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be?
Can I compare to transport? - It is like my commute to work; I have to walk to the station, get on a train, hop on a tube before I conclude my ‘seamless' and ‘one stop' optimised journey ! It is getting better though driven by digitalisation and customer-centricity...

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? An entrepreneur - I've had involvement with start-ups...

James York



James York, innovator-at-large, Worry+Peace

"Insurance is the glue that binds economies, digitisation demands we proactively unleash a new cross-industry covenant for all our customers"

First computer: Amiga 3000 (but used BBCs at school). I remember playing a New Zealand Story, but we didn't really grasp the importance of computers in my generation's education. Code? Huh? #curriculumfail

First mobile phone: Nokia 5110

First job: I worked in a garden centre as the dogsbody for £2 an hour. My duties involved carrying bags of manure, stocking plant supplies, picking weeds from shingle (with no gloves on) and mowing the lawns.

Digital hero: Stephen Wolfram

Best thing about your current job: Imagination, I don't have to ask permission to dream. The only barrier is resources.

Last time you wore a tie: I wear a tie about once a week. The tie is NOT the enemy, attitude is.

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? An elevator.

Who is the best person to lead the insurance digital revolution? Presume we can't say ourselves? So, erm, it must be someone else? Really? Ok. Whatever. (James Dyson)

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Sports & Sports Apparel business.

Jon Mansley

Head of digital strategy


Jon Mansley, head of digital strategy, LV

Is that red light supposed to be flashing?

First mobile phone: BT handset called the roamer or something like that

First job: proper job was for NWS - now part of Halifax group in Marketing

Digital hero: Sir Tim Berners Lee met him in Dublin once just awesome

Best thing about your current job: I get to work in Digital and push the boundaries of what we can achieve in Insurance

Last time you wore a tie: Last year September when i Interviewed for this job

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? A winchester disk

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Marine Biologist

Juan de Castro

Chief operating officer

Hiscox UK

Juan de Castro, chief operating officer, Hiscox UK

Michael Gould

Chief Operating Officer

Talbot Underwriting Ltd

Michael Gould, chief operating officer, Talbot Underwriting Ltd

Be Comfortably Uncomfortable

First computer: Toshiba laptop

First mobile phone: Nokia

First job: Start-up of import/export company

Digital hero: Steve Jobs

Best thing about your current job: Variety and transformation

Last time you wore a tie: Yesterday!

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? Mainframe... but recognition that it needs to evolve

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Helping companies transform

Mike Downing

Chief technology officer

WPA Group

Mike Downing, Chief Technology Officer, WPA Group

"The best way to predict the future is to create it.", Peter Drucker


First computer:ZX Spectrum

First mobile phone: Philips Fizz

First job: Brick Layer

Digital hero: Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup"

Best thing about your current job: A great mixture of disruption, innovation and technology in a forward thinking environment.

Last time you wore a tie: Every workday

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? A robotic vacuum cleaner, trying its best to improve what it does yet restricted by its own limitations.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Finding other ways to drive and influence change.

Paul Heybourne

Global innovation, research & demonstration lab manager


Paul Heybourne, global innovation, research & demonstration lab manager, Aviva

First computer: The fantastic Spectrum 48k with those annoying rubber keys - it's the device that introduced me to the world of coding.

First mobile phone: The Nokia 101, back in the very early 90's - I remember it used to really weigh down my jeans pocket!

First job: Handling insurance claims - I loved this direct contact with customers at a time when we deliver the proof point of our product. The experience has stuck with me and helps me keep the customer at the centre of everything I do.

Digital hero: I have long been a fan of Steve Jobs, way before it was cool to like Steve Jobs. His complete obsession with simplicity and user experience, (our industry can learn a lot from that) and of course those Keynotes - his delivery is superb.

Best thing about your current job: Creating the conditions for the best ideas to be taken from someone's head to being tested with customers.

Last time you wore a tie: At a friend's wedding, It was the same day I got my Apple Watch, which I hadn't realised you had to put on silent and it rang just at the moment when the registrar asked if ‘anyone knows of any lawful impediment...'

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? The cloud - you know it's their protecting your stuff...you just can't see it. Or the original Blackberry - does some great stuff just not operating to the best of its potential.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Connecting people and connecting technology solutions with business problems - it's in my DNA.

Who is the best person to lead the insurance digital revolution and why? Me - Surely I wouldn't qualify for being an Insurance Activist if I said anyone else would I??!

Phoebe Hugh

Co-Founder & CEO


Phoebe Hugh, Co-Founder & CEO, Brolly

Hope is not a strategy.

First computer: A Power Macintosh from the mid-1990s, on which I spent many hours playing Descent, the best space combat game.

First mobile phone: Nokia 3210

First job: The paper round from the age of 10. I'd get up at 6am everyday before school and earned £13 a week, which didn't go up for 4 years. I wasn't given pocket money, so had to earn for myself!

Digital hero: Peter Thiel. I admire his philosophy of creating value in the world.

Best thing about your current job: The constant challenge and learning, knowing that when we succeed we'll have built an entirely new way for customers to understand and engage with insurance.

Last time you wore a tie: Well, I used to wear a bow tie when I was a Texas Hold'em Croupier!

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? A large data centre.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Coaching entrepreneurs and/or running another business.

Rob Savage

Head of digital product management

Direct Line Group

Rob Savage, head of digital product management, Direct Line Group

Be the change you wish to see in the world

First computer: Amstrad CPC 464 - the ‘music' that played as the tape loaded is forever imprinted on my brain.

First mobile phone: Nokia 5110 - it was the family mobile and was given to someone whenever they left the house

First job: Paper round. First full time job was a Sales Coordinator for a software VAR.

Best thing about your current job: The people I work with and the culture we share.

Last time you wore a tie: Sad to say it was to a friend's funeral.

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? To use a motoring metaphor, today it is probably an air bag - tomorrow it is fully autonomous accident prevention.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? Most likely living an unfulfilled desire to race in motorsport.

Steven Mendel

Founder & CEO

Bought By Many

Steven Mendel, founder and CEO, Bought By Many

"Together we can make this happen"

First computer: A Commodore 64 (now you know my age!!)

First mobile phone: I don't recall but it was in 1996 and it was on Orange, shortly after their launch.

First job: As a summer job, an actuarial student in a firm that is now part of Marsh Mac

Digital hero: John Straw, one of our early investors and a real search guru.

Best thing about your current job: Being able to bring together a great team of individuals with complementary skills.

Last time you wore a tie: I religiously (!) wear a tie once a year only for a specific religious festival

If the insurance industry was a piece of technology what would it be? One of those old transporter phones that my father used to have bolted into his car - it pretended to be portable, but you had to be Geoff Capes to be able to carry it.

Who is the best person to lead the insurance digital revolution? Each and every one of us - to shift this clunky industry into the digital age is going to require some serious collective effort.

If you were not a digital activist what would you be doing? An architect.


Back to Activist Board

Vivek Banga

Chief digital officer

Arthur J Gallagher

Vivek joined Arthur J. Gallagher in 2013. He has more than a decade's experience of developing online trading strategy and distribution for a range of UK-based general insurance companies, especially for SME products, and has worked extensively with brokers and technology organisations. At Gallagher, Vivek has a company-wide brief to develop digital business opportunities, leveraging the group's strengths in both broking and underwriting operations.

Prior to joining Gallagher, Vivek served as head of UK distribution at Brit Insurance, with a remit that encompassed the insurer's entire e-business portfolio, and moved to head up e-business development in Canada for QBE following its acquisition of Brit's UK business.

Before arriving at Brit in 2010 he spent seven years working for NIG, within the Direct Line Group, first as head of ecommerce, then head of business development for its commercial and broker business.