News & Media Centre

Guernsey held its first ever ‘big data’ conference, organised by Startup Guernsey, bringing together experts across the field of Fintech to consider Guernsey’s business opportunities in the rapidly expanding global tech future.

John Davison, Chief Information Officer at First Central Group, and architect of Focus, was one of 10 key speakers presenting the opportunities and risks for local businesses, as well as exploring where big data is already having an impact on the global market.

Big data is extremely large data sets that can be analysed through technology to reveal patterns and trends including relating to human behaviour and interactions. Key topics covered at the conference included blockchain, eGov, digital identity, applications and impact of big data, data protection and law.

We are proud to have created and developed a major piece of enterprise and innovation - the bespoke insurance platform, Focus, utilised by our UK motor broker 1ST CENTRAL. It remains a market-leading technology platform in the motor insurance market, recently selling its three millionth policy and has helped put Guernsey on the map as a highly-skilled software development hub.

John explained that big data was at the heart of First Central Group’s ability to deliver accurate, responsive and valuable information in the frantic world of providing aggregate quotes for car insurance policies.

 “The more information we can capture, analyse and react to, the more we can make sound decisions and offer our customers choice as quickly and accurately as possible,” he said.

He added that First Central Group had an edge on other insurance businesses because of its ability to capture and use big data in real time through Focus.

“Focus handles over 400,000 quotes and produces over two million data updates a day, identifying the context of a transaction - everything customers and users do on our front and back office websites. Focus is capable of reacting by adding their behaviours back into the decision-making mix. That ability to spot segments of customer behaviour and react to them is a crucial and unique opportunity, and we had to build it in order to take advantage of this new approach.”

He told the audience that modelling on numbers was being augmented and overtaken by modelling on online user behaviours.

“Combining the use of statistical models with code and new learning methods can drive significant value gains,” he said.

He added that First Central Group “grows its own” developers and analysts and has been a key player in drawing the right people back to Guernsey after their degrees to train and develop their skills in FinTech.

“We've been part of creating a landscape in Guernsey that promotes excellence in technology and data skill sets – and will drive forward into the field of data science. We believe that Guernsey’s young people will need to understand artificial intelligence and machine learning to help them make the decisions of the future.

“They also need to see that financial services can be cool, but FinTech is way cooler!”