The idea resulted from last year’s Biba hackathon challenge 

Ecclesiastical is looking for investors for a grassroots project that it hopes will inspire the next generation to work in insurance.

This is to solve the problem of encouraging young people into working in the insurance industry and retaining them as staff.

The Chartered Institute of Insurers (CII) and Biba have already showed interest in the idea, with the intention of taking it further.

It follows Biba’s hackathon last year which looked at the challenge – how to educate brokers around technology.

Engaging young people

Nic Hartley, head of business improvement and innovation in strategy at Ecclesiastical, told Insurance Times: “The idea we had was a grassroots programme whereby the industry can engage with schools and bring through that next generation of workforce into the industry because if you look at the statistics of the number of younger people coming into the market it’s dropping.”


Nic Hartley, Ecclesiastical 

He explained that the programme would tie into the curriculum and get people to find creative solutions bringing both innovative solutions into the school system and getting people interested in insurance by solving real industry problems.

Wanting to reverse the trend of insurance being seen as a last option in terms of career Hartley added that getting young people engaged with the industry early on was key – this usually crops up for the first time when a young person gets their expensive mobile phone leading them to look into insurance.


He continued: “The challenge that we were given was around how can we improve or educate brokers on the wealth of technology and where it is changing business. We thought that you could put up a Wikipedia site, web page or a brochure together telling people what chatbots or artificial intelligence is, but it doesn’t really educate people.”

“But after speaking to brokers on the floor, we realised last hackathon that this problem could not be solved with a piece of technology, brokers themselves need education but it’s more about educating the younger members.

Last year was the first time that Biba ran the hackathon, it saw eight teams taking part with one other team being given the same challenge as Ecclesiastical. The hackathon saw teams across insurance and technology backgrounds work together to solve a challenge under time pressure.

Ecclesiastical’s team idea was highly commended by Biba but as it needed a group of stakeholders to put the idea in place it did not win.

This year Hartley is a ‘hack mentor’ at the Biba hackathon, he will join eight other industry professionals who have been hand-picked based on innovation being part of their day job, they will support the teams taking part. Other hack mentors include Ruth Polyblank, director at Grow Native and Elliot Biggs, chief information officer at C-Quence Technologies.

Insurance isn’t ’sexy’

Hartley added: “Financial services is often viewed as unexciting by some I imagine, image wise it might struggle to engage the younger people, as our brand isn’t as well served as some – younger people are less likely to engage with insurance – I think it’s because they do not engage with it until they are much older.”

He said that this is because insurance is usually seen as an office job, Hartley believes that the industry can do better to engage the audience especially in terms of how it adapts to future technology.

Given the age demographic for senior positions at brokers being late 40’s to mid-50’s, Hartley questioned where they get their technology insurance inspiration from and therfore putting the younger generation forward as a solution to this.