Since joining the Modern Insurance Magazine Editorial Board, our professional relationship with ParaCode has gone from strength to strength. We saw down with Will Prest, Product Manager, to discuss the origins of the platform, his role within the firm, and his journey to where he is today.
Q. Tell us about your role at ParaCode. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?
A. As a Product Manager, my role is to sit between the customer and the development team and turn customer requirements into delivered features. My team build all our demo products and configure new and existing customer products. This often takes me out of the office to go onsite with customers, which is the best part of the job. I love getting to see how different businesses operate, and it really is amazing to see the level of diversity in underwriting and distribution within the UK insurance industry. One day you are dealing with a pay-per-click marketing-lead online B2C business, and the next you are dealing with an MGA offering complex commercial products via traditional brokers. No two days are the same.
Q. What are the challenges facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?
A. The key challenge we face now is delivering on our vision for ParaCode. We are trying to revolutionise distribution, whereby any insurance business can create insurance products instantly, and then distribute that product in any manner they see fit – whether B2C, B2B or embedded – all without developer involvement or capital expenditure. This is extremely challenging from both a technical and organisational perspective. To handle this, we have just closed a funding round that will allow us to increase headcount in both development and service delivery as we continue to evolve into an enterprise level software company.
Q. If you could go back to the start of your professional career, knowing what you now know, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?
A. I think I would tell myself to go slower in the short term to go faster in the long term. Build a solid foundation of skill and knowledge first before trying to do the really difficult things. A career is a marathon, not a sprint!
Q. What would be your prediction for the industry in 2023 and beyond?
A. The cost-of-living crisis and inflation are going to be squeezing insurance companies and MGAs from both ends. Real income growth is likely to be limited as clients seek to reduce outgoings, while the cost of internal business operations and claims handling will only go up. Fraud is also likely to increase in difficult economic circumstances. Navigating these headwinds will be challenging but not insurmountable for well run businesses who can confidently access and manipulate their data to set pricing and terms appropriately.
While brokers will face the same internal cost pressures, the most dominant brokers will strengthen their position in the marketplace as they leverage their client and insurer relationships, maintaining premium and commission levels as best they can.
The FCA Consumer Duty regulations are a clear signpost of what is to come in the regulatory space, and both the FCA and the UK Government will put increasing pressure on the insurance industry to ensure clients get good and cost-effective outcomes. The willingness of the government to publicly front-up to the banking industry about passing on interest rate rises to savers shows that we will need to keep an eye on politics as well as regulation.
On a more long-term and positive note, the technology space continues to evolve rapidly, and the explosion of AI will be very interesting to watch. We should however remember the old adage that “we overestimate the impact of technology in the short-term and underestimate the effect in the long run”.
Q. What made you want to work in this sector?
A. Being honest, when I was 18 I vowed never to work in insurance and had an initial career in the merchant navy, but after a couple of years at sea I came home to join the family business. We ran an equine insurance business called KBIS which provides cover for the horses, businesses and people that make up the equine industry. One of my first jobs was to find a new insurance software platform for the business, but after a thorough search of the marketplace I could not find one with the right functionality at the right price. We took the bold step to build our own, and five years later here we are. I feel very fortunate to be where I am today, and what keeps me going is knowing we are trying to do something very challenging, which has the potential to deliver enormous value to our customers.
Q. Thus far, what has been your most significant or proudest achievement in your current or previous roles?
A. Going live with the first deployment of ParaCode in 2021 is my proudest achievement. It had been a long and emotionally charged process, and to be able to get it done in the middle of the pandemic was very special. A lot of people worked very hard, well beyond what they were required to do to make it happen, and being able to see it actually being used to do real business was very rewarding.
Could ParaCode’s agile insurance software help your business? Visit their website to find out more and get in touch!