Roger Hemming joined Aquarium as Chairman in April to spearhead the next level of growth for the company. Roger has a unique set of experience and talents that can help Aquarium grow in the insuretech market.
What was your career path?
My career started with two separate stints in the financial services industry. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I joined Rothschild in 1993 where I spent 20 very happy years helping smaller businesses grow through proactive management of growth and change.
In 2013 I left Rothschild and have been running my own private property business ever since as well as helping individual businesses achieve success and generate improved shareholder value.
Tell us about some companies you have worked with recently?
Until very recently, I was a non-executive director of Pipers Crisps, the Lincolnshire-based premium crisp manufacturer. The business was founded in 2004 by three farmers and built a reputation for creating strong flavours, but also being the best packet of crisps you can buy. This got the business quite far, but then, like many businesses, it needed to scale for growth, without losing its unique magic. I played a part in helping the company grow its people, processes and sales, up to its successful acquisition by Pepsico earlier this year. Before this, I helped Pukka Herbal Teas in the run up to its acquisition by Unilever.
What has drawn you to the insurance market?
At Rothschild I was involved in a few financial services deals including the merger of Sun Alliance and Royal Insurance as well as the sale of Pet Plan to Cornhill Insurance. While the industry has changed a great deal, I believe it has not been disrupted by technology in the same way as, say, the broader financial services market. There is constant pressure on premiums, yet pay-outs from claims are also growing in many insurance markets. This creates a business tension that the right technology can resolve by vastly reducing the cost of a transaction through automation.
Is technological automation the main driver you see in the insurance market?
It is one of two. The other is insight from the vast volumes of data that is now available to be processed. Insurance often remains a rather blunt tool. For example, if you are over 70 it becomes prohibitively expensive to get medical or travel insurance. Older people are higher risk. But this does a disservice to the many extremely healthy over 70-year olds. Big data analytics will help insurers offer a more personalised approach to policies, focussing on providing individual needs based on accurate data, reducing their own risk and providing a more effective and complete service to customers.
What attracted you to Aquarium as a business?
I’ve been involved in several technology businesses and have seen how, today, well-built technology businesses can grow and scale quickly to provide an industry solution. Aquarium has a platform that enables high volumes of accurate transactions in a complex but repeatable business process, where rapid response times transform customer service. The expertise of the team at Aquarium and their detailed knowledge of the insurance industry can enable them to quickly become the de facto platform for digitising insurance propositions. Aquarium can open-up specialist lines of business for insurers with its proven and scalable SAAS platforms, offering distinct advantages over the competition which are often much costlier to implement.