The group’s chief executive says digital transformation is a key strategic goal 

Direct Insurance Group (Direct Insurance) has revealed a multimillion pound investment into its IT and operations.

The focus of the project is around simplifying internal processes and leveraging data in order to drive business decisions and create a better experience for partners and customers.

The investment will further expand the group’s data, analytics and digital platform capabilities across its international operations. 

Tom Downs, Direct Insurance’s chief operating officer, has been recruited to lead the group’s IT and operational transformation, which will include an enhanced pricing tool, a digital distribution platform and a full overhaul of the group’s IT infrastructure.

The company’s multi-phased road map also plans to digitalise administration processes across the full risk lifecycle, which includes underwriting, claims and finance.

It will also build a repository of risk level data that will flow into a new online data analytics function.

Downs said: “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 road map, with the right team and full backing from the board [and] we will achieve transformational outcomes.”

Hugely entrepreneurial

Downs has 11 years of prior experience in operations and IT change management as a project manager at Sompo Canopius.

He has also worked as an operations manager at Lloyd’s syndicate AEGIS.

Downs said: “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.”

Direct Insurance is actively recruiting to fill further roles in Downs’ team, including a change delivery manager and a data quality manager. He currently leads a team of seven operations, IT and project specialists.

Crossing boundaries and new horizons

David Bearman, Direct Insurance’s chief executive, added: “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.”