Transforming The London Insurance Market: An Interview With Karen McDonagh Reynolds

EDII Think Factory Event, 26th October 2022

The EDII Think Factory is the Digital Minds alumni community, which meets regularly to gain insight into industry change and continue their innovation development.

Today we welcome Karen McDonagh Reynolds, who has recently moved from her role as Global Technology Director for WTW to join the London Market Joint Venture (JV).

In May 2022, the JV announced its goals to help bring Lloyd’s Blueprint Two plans to life, digitising, streamlining, and automating many of the Lloyd’s and London Market processes by transforming its legacy systems.

Karen joins the JV as Transformation Director, heading up the team to lead that change.

Hi Karen, welcome to the EDII Think Factory. Some people know the London Market Joint Venture well and could describe its structure in detail. You might need to be more familiar if you’re not on a market committee or at the centre of the London Market transformation. Can you tell us what it is and what’s its history?

Well, the JV was established way back in 2001. It was initially a partnership with Lloyd’s, the International Underwriting Association (IUA) and what was then Xchanging. Now it’s Lloyd’s, the IUA and DXC since DXC’s Xchanging purchase in 2016. We also work closely with the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) and other Market Associations.

The JV’s fundamental role is to provide policy, premium and claims services to the Lloyd’s market and Claims services to the London market by systems that have evolved over time. We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and now we are set to help transform those legacy systems and services to truly digital.

That transformation involves migrating legacy systems to a digital platform running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s billed as one of the most extensive cloud migrations of all time. No mean feat. What will that deliver?

As you say – like many organisations, our operations include legacy systems that have been in place for years. They still do a good job of supporting numerous processes, but the market needs the benefits that moving to the cloud, providing an entirely digitised platform, can bring. And that’s what we aim to deliver.

What are those benefits, exactly?

Well, for a start, a digital platform means massively improved security. The security provided by AWS just can’t be duplicated in a standard physical data centre. Most organisations don’t have the level of financial or material resources to provide the same security benefits as Amazon can – they are constantly refreshing and updating their standards, in fact, they’re built to satisfy the security requirements of the Military.

And also, performance and reliability. When you move to the cloud, your data doesn’t just get stored in one data centre; it gets distributed to multiple data centres. So if one goes down, your data will automatically be available in another. If you need more ‘oomph’, you can scale up your requirements. No more system outages, no more slow running. Performance and reliability.

So Cloud platforms provide a better performance, more security and more stability. What does that deliver?

By moving to a single digital platform, everything will be data-first, data-led, meaning standardised data, with reporting, insights, and analytics like never before. We will overhaul thousands and thousands of paper-based processes and bring them into the digital era.

We’ll be able to build apps fast, test and monitor super-quick, automate processes, and provide services to the market that will substantially reduce operating costs.

It also allows the market to serve its own customers better, giving them a faster, more agile and interactive experience.

You’ve worked on large-scale transformations in the past – I think it’s fair to say this might be the biggest, and we know it’s never easy. What challenges do you see coming up?

Well, any significant transformation has a mixture of tangible and cultural aspects to consider.

On the tangible side, I would say one of our main challenges is to ensure that we make this transition as low-risk as possible and make the move to the new services as simple as possible. We will be working with many very experienced market providers and market teams, which will be a great help.

On the cultural side, this is a massive change to the way the market works. We need to focus on engagement and adoption (anyone got a better word than adoption?!) and make sure that the important messages get through to the business practitioners and the people who really need to hear them.

We also need to really embed a digital culture across all levels. Some of that is obviously promoting digital capabilities, but much of it means bringing new behaviours. An innovation mindset and the business getting used to design-thinking mentalities like making incremental changes and iterating is going to be paramount. One of the reasons we are delighted to be working with the EDII Think Factory!

Talking of the EDII Think Factory – the Digital Minds alumni – they’re made up of people from all roles across the industry. What’s the best way for them to get more information and keep on top of the programme as it develops?

Well, as well as regular Think Factory sessions that we will be sharing updates at, there are several ways, actually.

Firstly, bookmark the Blueprint Two website, and keep an eye out for more information in the coming months. Secondly, almost every carrier or broker has a representative on the Blueprint Two engagement groups. Find out who yours is, express your interest and ask for updates. Get involved. Thirdly: Did I mention we are hiring?! We are bringing talented people from within the market into the transformation. Contact me or anyone in my team for a chat, and you can keep up to date from the inside!

Thank you to Karen McDonagh Reynolds, Transformation Director, London Market Joint Venture, for talking to the Digital Minds alumni via the EDII Think Factory.

Find out more about Blueprint Two here.

About The EDII Think Factory

The EDII Think Factory is a free-of-charge programme exclusively for Digital Minds alumni. The Think Factory community spans more than 250 alumni members and grows with each cohort. With more than 60 organisations represented, and countless roles across the market, the continuing development, knowledge and networking opportunities are endless.

Learn more about the Digital Minds Innovation Programme here.



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