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When we published our 'Year in review' article in 2019, it's safe to say we didn't predict what would happen in 2020.
It's difficult to know what to say about the events of 2020 that hasn't already been said, so without disregarding the sombre mood of this festive period we've decided to focus on the positives.
Artificial CEO Damian Arnold had this to say on an eventful year:
“2020 has undoubtedly proven to be very challenging but with this came great opportunity. The pandemic has shifted the way we work as an industry and whilst this created a number of early challenges and some projects slowed down many have sped up; especially through the second half of this year and we’ve secured more fantastic clients. The whole industry can be proud of the way it adapted to these huge changes. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of digital adoption supporting the sector's leading firms as they accelerate this shift. We’ve a great team, full of capability, with some really exciting projects being delivered in 2021.”
So, what did we get up to?
There have been a myriad of projects behind the scenes and the team have worked harder than ever, but this is just a brief run-down of what we've been doing.
1. We continued to grow 📈
We have continued to see steady growth in several areas throughout 2020. Over the past year, we have won a number of competitive pitches and began to work with new clients. We also raised an additional £2m in capital to help our expansion and product development.
In March, we announced an exciting partnership with Chaucer, one of the world's leading specialty (re)insurance groups, to develop a next generation underwriting platform.
This year the Delivery, Engineering and Commercial teams have been working with Chaucer to produce a platform for several commercial insurance products, and 2021 will see a steady rollout of further products on the platform.
Our partnership continues to grow with more joint collaboration in client engagement and digital initiatives within Capita. The partnership will bring new opportunities for those in the London market who can benefit from the best in both technology and human expertise.
2. We developed our platform further 💻
One of the highlights of 2020 was our acceptance onto the Lloyd's Lab, a world-renowned accelerator programme for promising startups in the InsurTech market.
During the Lab, the team worked on a prototype for our Rapid Appetite Indicator (RAI) tool, which allows brokers to receive a Yes/No response to their submission to an underwriter within a matter of seconds. Excellent results from the Lab yielded strong interest from the market and led to several proof of concepts from carriers who had seen the prototype in action.
One of these proof of concepts has resulted in the team working with a leading carrier to help automate processes in the back office. The process involves taking in data in different formats and standardising it for use across the insurance value chain, ultimately helping to prioritise enquiries from brokers on multiple channels (APIs, PPL etc).
RAI will pop up again in 2021 with more exciting features, so watch this space!
3. We took part in new projects 🤝🏼
Our co-founder and CCO David King appeared on the InsTech London podcast in March, speaking to host Matthew Grant about our new partnerships, Artificial's beginnings and the ins and outs of running a data-centric company.
In autumn we were chosen to be part of Plug and Play Insurtech, a prominent US accelerator based in Silicon Valley. This marked a new venture overseas (virtually, of course) for the Data and Commercial teams, who have spent the accelerator mingling with stakeholders in the US market to find new applications for our machine learning insurance technology.
We also joined Insurlab Germany, a network for companies looking to digitise and promote innovation in the insurance industry. We even took part in some era-appropriate webinars, with our CEO and CCO both making regular panel appearances to talk about our technology and increasing digitisation.
Finally, in November we were selected as part of the Department for International Trade’s US Northeast InsurTech Roadshow as one of the UK’s outstanding growth insurtechs. The week-long roadshow gave us an unparalleled opportunity to meet with industry officials, regulators and stakeholders in the Northeast US.
4. Our team got bigger 👨👨👧👦
In February we welcomed Laura Mullan to the Artificial family. Laura is a Business Analyst with over 12 years' experience in insurance and has hit the ground running with the Delivery Team working with both retail and commercial clients.
In March Julian Arni joined the team as a Senior Product Engineer. Julian has brought a wealth of experience to our team as a specialist in designing and implementing programming languages including DSLs (domain specific languages).
In April, we welcomed two new team members in very different capacities; firstly, Eric Joost - Chief Technology and Global Markets Officer at CAC Specialty (US based start-up specialty broker) - joined the Artificial advisory board as a non-executive director, bringing with him decades of insurance experience.
Tomek Wawreniuk then joined us as a Product Engineer, strengthening the Engineering team on all aspects of our product - from the back to the front and in between!
5. Finally, a note of positivity 🎉
2020 may have been a year of change and disruption, but it's also brought new opportunities. More of our team have discovered the joys of working from home, enjoyed spending more time in nature and avoided the London commute.
We have also been able to connect in different ways. Teams who are usually spread throughout the country - and even across Europe - have been taking part in regular video chats where we have found out more about each other's lives and interests than we ever knew before, so for that we can be grateful.
And on an even lighter note, we would be remiss not to mention the latest addition to the family for our CCO David King, who welcomed a new baby girl this November!
Last year we said 'Who knows what will happen in 2020?' and we truly couldn't have guessed.
So this time, instead of making predictions, we'll just say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope that 2021 is slightly more cheerful…🎄🥂