One of Concirrus’ long standing employees, Graham Libaert, recently celebrated six-years of service! Joining us in March 2014, when there were just a few members of what is now a 90 strong team, Graham has watched the company grow from an IoT start-up into a market leading InsurTech. In 2018, Graham wrote about his first four years at Concirrus in ‘So, I took a punt...’ And we ask, what’s changed in the last two years?
We discuss his journey from Project Manager to Data Strategy Director, what he’s learnt, his favourite memory at Concirrus, and his insights on how the industry has changed over the years. Plus look out for some interesting photos below...
What’s changed in the last two years since you wrote ‘So, I took a punt...'
So much! For a start, we have more than doubled in size and made incredible progress in our market. Concirrus has ‘grown-up’ as a result in all aspects and is recognised as a trusted partner to our customers, we simply cannot let them down. As a leading InsurTech, the way we prioritise and meet objectives has become more cohesive. There is a much greater focus now on how we effectively operate as a business rather than as individual departments. Our growth has meant we now have more insurance industry professionals within the team which has created a balance of technical skill and market experience throughout our business.
How has your role developed throughout your six years at Concirrus?
I’ve had many roles as the company has grown. A commonality between each position is scaling up a function and then knowing when to let go.
Uncovering value in data has always been a passion of mine. Data derived from numerous sources can be packaged and applied to solve different problems for different stakeholders. I’d previously seen this done at airports. While it wasn’t obvious (or simple) to begin with, it was very compelling once established.
Having large volumes of data on its own is not a solution. Implementing a diversified, forward-thinking data strategy is now an integral goal for our business. It ensures we develop our data assets and provide support to our customers as they go on their digital transformation journeys.
Describe how your team is growing and how it’s changed over time?
My team is all about the data, it’s relevance, dimensions and value - we are the ‘data lovers’. We link our customer, product and business objectives to available data and how it can be used to solve problems or create new opportunities. This includes all due diligence around sourcing data, including an assessment of regulatory compliance and whether there is a predictive signal in external data before it is adopted by the Data Science team for modelling.
In the financial sector, the sourcing, qualifying and testing process on average can take anywhere between 5-8 months per dataset. We recently published our first survey of the marine insurance market to ascertain if the challenges in insurance are similar and how people see the use of data growing in our community in the next 12-24 months.
My team now needs relevant subject matter expertise in a specific customer domain (maritime claims for example), skill in manipulating and understanding data, and be well connected to relevant data markets to quantify the impact new data will have.
How do you see the market changing in terms of its use of data moving forwards compared to where it was two years ago?
By proxy, the organisations who have adopted our products are those who are investing in digital change. Naturally they will continue to progress and become more sophisticated in their use of data and analytics over the years. As using insights from data becomes the norm in business, I equally expect appetites will increase for more diverse data to maintain competitive advantage or use new data to underpin differentiated insurance products.
‘Digital underwriting’, which fuses the best of underwriter skill and experience with the contemporary techniques of data science and machine learning, will ultimately just be known as ‘underwriting’ in a technically mature market.
I am also beginning to see some of the barriers to transparency and data-sharing gradually erode within the industry as greater trust is established and new opportunities arise.
You’ve seen Concirrus grow from IOT start-up to leading InsurTech in the space of six years. How has the culture at Concirrus remained stable throughout such quick growth?
The culture has developed a life of its own! It’s a vibrant and diverse workplace with great people from many cultures and backgrounds. It’s a pleasure to be part of! Its stability stems from a core value system that is included in our interview process. Everyone that joins contributes in their own way – we even have a social committee run by representatives from each department. I’m in their hands!
What have you learnt from your time here at Concirrus so far?
Simple...provide an environment which trusts in people to develop and take initiative, then the magic happens.
Your favourite Concirrus memory?
Tough question! I really enjoy our FedTalks on a Friday (like TED talks but we get fed after), it’s a chance for us as a team to get together and learn from each other. Michael Bootles’ FedTalk has to be my favourite! His topic was 'linking finance to Concirrus' and covered a series of observations on working at Concirrus. I loved it; I was in tears – never underestimate a Senior Finance Assistant for sharing their creativity, sensitivity and openness.
Finally, how does it feel to be a Concirrus veteran?
I love learning new things and I’m constantly teaching myself new skills or ways of working. It would be quite a mind-shift for me to put myself in the shoes of a new team member joining Concirrus in 2020 vs 2014. I would imagine there’s a lot more information to assimilate in the first few months compared to when I started. There’s still immense opportunity for passionate individuals to personally contribute to our business, which is evident as we get more on-board!
Graham at the 2018 Deloitte Insurtech Summit in Toronto.
Graham on a work trip to visit our Delhi team where he stepped off the pavement to cross the road, without realising the kerb was over a foot high and tore all the ligaments in his ankle.! Luckily our CTO, Vinod was there to save the day and took him to the hospital.
Here's to more years and memories at Concirrus Graham!