FloodFlash’s Broker Success Manager Ola is included in the Insurance Business UK’s 2022 Rising Stars and nominated for the Insurance Times Tech Champion award. We spoke to Ola to congratulate him about these awards, and ask why he is so passionate about the insurance industry.
Ola Jacob: I’ve always liked the idea of working in business and finance. After I left university, I started working at Gallaghers. After I spent some time in HR, I moved to the financial institutions team. It was there that I realised the important role insurance played in the finance world. The opportunity for innovation in insurance was huge, and really excited me.
When I tell my brothers that I truly like insurance they think I’m crazy. But anyone who works with me will know I have a smile on my face 99% of the time because I believe insurance, and particularly FloodFlash, can make a significant positive impact on the world.
OJ: Insurance has always had a bad reputation. I wanted to be a part of what changes that. FloodFlash puts the power of risk management and recovery into the client’s hand. It’s such a clever way to apply a reinsurance tool to any flood exposed property.
As an insurtech, FloodFlash combined my passion for insurance with a desire to innovate and change the sector for the better. By using parametric insurance and a smart sensor, it allows both the client and insurance industry to win, particularly at claim. It removes the admin at claim and means clients can get a payout in their bank within hours of a flood.
OJ: FloodFlash really is like a family and it’s an incredibly rewarding company to work for. Over the last decade I’ve seen several waves of innovation from operational to product changes. FloodFlash combines an innovative product with an innovative business. As soon as I came across it I knew it was going be a winner with clients and brokers.
Despite using the latest technology, it really is a simple product. The positive feedback we get from our clients and brokers is so rewarding. Especially as so many of our clients have been unable to get flood insurance elsewhere. It’s no exaggeration to say that FloodFlash is changing people’s lives for the better.
OJ: I feel strongly about ensuring the insurance industry continues to innovate. Young and diverse talent is key to this. I co-founded Next Generation Insurance Network (NGIN) in 2014 to give young insurance professionals a voice. We now work with over 2000 young professionals, and we are partners with Lloyds of London, CII, Instech London and others. I’m also on the diversity committee within the CII. I’m passionate about working with diverse perspectives and cultures and am a strong believer that diversity fosters innovation.
When I was 15, I was a volunteer sport coach with Tower Hamlets Sports Partnership. We would work with young people in deprived areas of London and compete in mini-sports days. Lloyds were one of the main sponsors of the Partnership, so I continued to volunteer after joining the insurance industry. I’ve since become a trustee of the Lloyds Charities Trust.
I’m also one of BIBA’s young representatives for London. BIBA is really open to new ideas and concepts – from innovation in insurance to the new wellness area I introduced at this year’s conference!
OJ: Thanks! I’m really proud to have been included. Not many people know that I studied computer science at university. So it has always been my aim to change the image of insurance through innovation. It’s an honour that my peers in the industry think of me like this and it inspires me to do so much more, especially when I’m recognised alongside insurance innovation heavyweights like Robert Lumley and Ed Gaze.
OJ: In general, diversity and inclusion in the UK insurance sector is aesthetic, with minimal real action. It’s really important to me that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to work in insurance and in technology. People of different ages, cultures, and backgrounds all bring different perspectives and knowledge – which are essential to innovation.
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