Ahead of this week’s Insurance Times Awards on 8 December, FloodFlash’s broker success manager - Ola Jacob - reflects on how it felt to win the Technology Champion of the Year accolade at Insurance Times’ Tech and Innovation Awards in September 2022

Congratulations on winning Technology Champion of the Year at Insurance Times’ Technology and Innovation Awards! How does it feel to win such a prestigious accolade and what did you do to celebrate?

The Insurance Times Technology Champion of the Year title is the best insurance award I could have achieved.

When I joined our industry back in 2012 with my computer science degree, my objective was to make a difference using innovation and technology.

True innovation is about collaboration.

My friends and co-nominees Ed Gaze, former Lloyd’s Lab head of innovation and current investor and advisor at ValueSpace, and Insurtech Gateway’s co-founder Robert Lumley are great minds I’ve collaborated with - I consider them both champions.

This award represents all the beautiful people that voted for me and who I’ve worked with on my journey so far. Special thanks to them and the Insurance Times team for putting these awards together - I’m still smiling every time I see the trophy.

Honestly, I haven’t had much time to celebrate. Seeing my proud mum’s face was enough satisfaction. However, my brothers have promised me a holiday.

Ola Jacob_Tech Champion of the Year 2022

Ola Jacob, broker success manager at FloodFlash, and Katie Scott, Insurance Times editor, at the Tech and Innovation Awards 2022 in September 2022 

Tell our readers about some of the key technology achievements in your career.

My three favourite achievements, prior to joining FloodFlash in 2019, remind me of the fun I had working with my peers in the market.

For example, as a part of the 2016 Dive In Festival, we delivered The Innovation Challenge - a competition to showcase the best talent across the market, supported by Ventures Africa, Lloyd’s, TOM and Allied World.

Ben Rose, the co-founder of Supercede, was one of our winners with his business idea.

We then combined the Next Generation Insurance Network (NGIN) and Lloyd’s to get multi generation submissions for innovation ideas. Darren Powell, director of underwriting at Allied World, was a great sponsor and we took five winners on a trip on the Lloyd’s Lutine yacht.

Secondly, winning broker Gallagher’s 2017 innovation competition with an app-based home insurance idea for renters was also a proud moment.

Julius Degutis, team lead at cloud-based energy modelling software firm PVcase, Hester Pelling, vice-president of fine art, jewellery and specie at Marsh, Nadine Oakes, associate director at Gallagher, and I wanted to reconnect insurance with our generation. We managed to win over the Gallagher board and Shark Tank investors.

Lastly, in 2018 I consulted with Lloyd’s of London on its innovation in the market initiative, which led to the creation of Lloyd’s Lab. Sebastian de Zulueta, who leads enterprise sales at Stripe, Edward Ventham, co-founder of Assured, and I envisioned a market that empowered anyone who wanted to innovate from within or collaborate.

In terms of recent achievements, it has to be in February 2019 when I Joined FloodFlash to help provide smart flood insurance with risk management at its heart.

What are your plans for the coming months to help you retain this award next year?

I look forward to working with more of my peers in the market and Insurance Times. The opportunities and challenges for innovation in our space is exciting, so we must keep pushing insurance to the next level.