TECH CHAMPION

This award recognises an outstanding individual who has made a difference to the UK insurance industry, their customers or the organisation they work for. The shortlist was selected by the Insurance Times’ editorial team, but the final decision rests with the UK Insurance industry. Voting has now closed and the winner will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on Thursday 17th September.
Maria Crockart - Head of Commercial Digital Trading and Automation, Aviva UK General Insurance

Maria Crockart - Director of Commercial Digital Trading and Automation, Aviva UK General Insurance

Maria Crockart has built a career spanning three decades in the general insurance industry, fuelled by her curiosity, a passion for simplification and a focus on fundamentals. As Aviva’s Digital Trading and Automation Director, Maria works to ensure IT deliveries make serving brokers and their customers easier, faster and smarter.

Digital, she says, is about enabling humans, not the other way around. Aviva’s recent implementation of Guidewire, led by Maria, makes the point. Driven by data and analytics, Aviva’s underwriters now have market-leading insight on the customer, bringing better pricing, service and speed to the brokers we trade with.

Maria has also helped build and evolve Fast Trade, Aviva’s award-winning online platform that is celebrating 10 years of trading with brokers on SME business. For the second year running, brokers awarded five stars to Fast Trade in the Insurance Times ‘Five Star Rating Report’, noting its usability and trading ease.

Maria admits that she is not the most Tech Savvy individual however by a relentless focus on customer needs, aligning to a clear purpose it enables development of solutions supported by strong IT which continue to create the right legacy and enable continued innovation.

This year has brought fresh challenges, but few were as urgent as transitioning office-based trading staff into a homeworking environment. Under Maria’s leadership, Aviva established full digital capability for its army of underwriters, allowing them to trade from home within 48 hours of lockdown, ensuring consistent service for brokers through the Covid crisis. Ensuring we were there for our customers.

Guy Farley - CTO and Co-Founder, Bought By Many

Guy Farley - CTO and Co-Founder, Bought By Many

Guy has worked in software development for 20 years. He joined ICL after university, managing the development of the UK’s first online bank for First Direct. He then spent a year in Bangalore, India running an off-shore development center, and from there moved to San Francisco to help inflate (and burst) the dot com bubble. After a year off skiing and sailing, he returned to the UK to software consulting in financial services. Guy founded Bought By Many with Steven after they worked together at Close Brothers and discovered a shared belief in the need for more transparency and innovation in the financial services industry.

In 2018, Wired magazine listed Bought By Many as one of Europe’s hottest start-ups, and the company has been on the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the last three years running.

Ed Leon Klinger_CEO, Flock, Chair, Insurtech UK

Ed Leon Klinger - CEO, Flock, Chair, Tech Nation's UK Insurtech Board

Ed Leon Klinger is Chairman of Tech Nation’s UK Insurtech Board and CEO of Flock, a VC-backed insurtech pioneering the use of Big Data in insurance. Flock launched Europe’s first ‘pay-as-you-fly’ drone insurance in partnership with Allianz in 2018 and now insures some of the world’s largest fleets with a range of intelligent insurance products. Ed holds a Masters in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford and a Masters in Technology Policy from the University of Cambridge where he focused on quantified risk analysis for artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and drones. He is now focused on reinventing insurance for the connected and autonomous world.

Julie Tongue, Digital Trading Manager, Allianz Insurance

Julie Tongue – Digital Trading Manager, Allianz Insurance

Julie is an experienced insurance and e-trade professional, having worked in the industry for 20 years. Julie’s career commenced in underwriting, progressing to portfolio management. She was an underwriting focal point during the creation of Allianz’s extranet, QuoteSME; it was here she developed a passion for change, innovation and process improvement.

In her current role as Digital Trading Manager Julie has created a dynamic and forward-thinking team responsible for automation development and e-trading for Allianz Commercial Lines. She is responsible for obtaining and delivering requirements for internal and external stakeholders, and regularly exceeds their expectations, creating simple solutions for complex scenarios.

Under her leadership she ensures QuoteSME continually evolves to meet ever changing customer and business needs, including trading new products digitally or using new data sources to support underwriting decisions. Julie is a passionate advocate of harnessing technology to deliver the best customer experiences and outcomes, during Julie’s tenure QuoteSME users have grown by 35% and GWP increased by 71%.

She proactively encourages using new technologies to automate underwriting and operational processes to allow people to focus on value add activities, delivering a saving of over 12,000 hours to the business since the start of 2020.

Julie has defined an innovative and robust e-trading strategy for Allianz Commercial Lines as she looks to continually promote change and drive improvements throughout the spectrum of business processes.

Julie’s most prominent success is achieving the ‘Best Extranet’ award for QuoteSME at the Insurance Times Tech & Innovation Awards for two consecutive years.

James York - Founder, Worry+Peace, Deputy Chair, Insurtech UK

James is the founder of Worry+Peace – which is putting financial products under one roof, starting with insurance. He’s held a number of volunteer roles across the sector including BIBA and the CII. He is co-founder and Deputy Chair of Insurtech UK and a co-convenor at the sector collective Totus Re. He is a self-confessed insurance advocate and seeks to work with like minds to help improve the sector’s reputation across society.

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*Votes from personal email addresses or from the nominee’s own company won’t be counted towards the final tally