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Meet the SME | Paul Willoughby |
12 January 2022

Meet the people who help our clients design and build innovative technology solutions to benefit their businesses as well as their customers: our subject matter experts aka SMEs. In this series, we’ll discover how they came to work in the industry and the changing role of technology in our lives. We’ll also get a glimpse into what makes them tick as people outside of work.

Our first SME to meet in 2022 is Paul Willoughby, who just joined our London-based Insurance team as a Consultant. Combining his long experience and passion for the industry with the desire to deliver the best technical solutions, Paul appreciates great performance – in Insurance and in cars.

Welcome, Paul! First, we’d like to ask some questions about your work and career. What has brought you into the tech industry and the insurance sector?

I started my Insurance career when I was very young. At 16, I had the opportunity to become a broker in the Lloyd’s of London market, and I jumped at the opportunity. That was over 25 years ago, and in that time, I’ve worked across a number of roles, including Claims, Reinsurance, Operations, and most recently as the Head of Strategy and Innovation for a large insurer. I absolutely love the Insurance market, as it’s like my second family and there is always the opportunity to meet wonderful people.

What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?

The biggest innovation has been the move to digital. This is mostly driven by the pandemic but also by a recognition that the way Insurance has been conducted until now isn’t sustainable or customer-centric. It is interesting to listen to people who “hated the idea of digital” and are now complete advocates. I think that through the horrible circumstances of COVID-19, we have seen a real shift in mentality, which is great.

What is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing, and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?

Buying behaviours are changing, and people expect ease and efficiency when purchasing insurance. Unfortunately, Insurance is pretty complex, and insurers are just not set up to be efficient. Therefore, they need to look for ways to change. This may be through digital channels or automation, but the number one place to start for me is the skills gap: companies need access to more digitally savvy people. A good way of doing that is to partner with the likes of Endava who have that sewn into their DNA.

What is the Endava project you are most proud of and why?

As a former client of Endava, we worked together to build a new Innovation Lab. This was really exciting, and the Endava team were able to deliver some fast-paced experiments in a very short amount of time. We also performed a number of Hackathons that not only created great outcomes but also changed people’s perception of how quickly we could deliver technology.

On the flip side, what is the project or technology that challenged you the most and where you had some setbacks? What did you learn from this?

I once led a market modernisation programme for Lloyd’s of London. My job was to create a digital trading platform for the London market. This was in 2012, and people were still getting their head around online shopping. I was public enemy number one with the brokers and not particularly popular with the underwriters either. My lesson learnt was that we didn’t show the practitioners enough of what a hybrid future could look like – we scared them instead.

Now, let’s move on to some more personal questions, alright? If you were not working as an industry consultant, what would you be doing instead?

I’d hopefully be designing sports cars, as I am a petrolhead and consider myself pretty creative. However, I may not have had the talent and could have ended up designing toasters.

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?

It would probably revolve around cars, as that’s a real passion – if you hadn’t noticed yet. I recently tried my hand at restoring a classic Land Rover, and whilst this kept me very busy during lockdown, I realised I’m not a particularly patient person. I’m also very good at losing important screws, which is quite unhelpful.

What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?

Obviously restoring cars, but probably the most challenging thing was training a cocker spaniel puppy. Oh, and bringing up two children, as they have the same listening skills as puppies.

Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?

At the 2000 Olympics, the British rowing team had a mantra: “Will it make the boat go faster?” It is about establishing a true performance culture and having total focus on the ultimate goal, which in their case was to be nothing else but the fastest boat – they won gold, by the way.


Many thanks to Paul for joining us – our team as well as our group of courageous experts who share their personality and experience. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next part of our Meet the SME series!

Paul Willoughby

Consultant

Over the last 25 years, Paul has held multiple leadership roles within the global Insurance market, including the role of Head of Strategy & Innovation for an FTSE insurer. He believes in connecting passionate people and market-leading technology to create ventures with a purpose that benefit businesses and their customers. When not working, you will find Paul spending time with his family, playing with cars, or in long grass looking for a stray golf ball.

 

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