First Central Group makes senior hire
April 26, 2017
First Central Insurance & Technology Group has appointed Simon Walker as its Group Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Guernsey-born and educated, Simon is well known in the insurance sector, having previously worked in senior global roles in the risk consulting and insurance management sectors with Aon and Robus.
As Group COO, he will initially be responsible for liaising with colleagues in Guernsey, Gibraltar and the UK in further developing the long-term strategy for the business; working closely with all senior stakeholders in the business and calling on the group’s expertise to further the strategy.
Simon said that, in his view, the current threats to the traditional UK motor insurance market also represent opportunities to be explored with new business partners.
“Our strategy will be focused on ensuring First Central Group remains a leading innovator in new technologies and new products while fostering employee welfare and maintaining a nurturing work culture,” he commented.
“1ST CENTRAL has grown from a team of 30 to more than 750 in a short period of time, and the strong leadership, coupled with a motivated workforce, is looking at just what we can do to further stamp First Central Group as a global innovator and continue to promote Guernsey as a technology centre.
“This market is rapidly approaching an inflexion point, which makes it an exciting time to join the leadership team. We need to address the rapidly changing insurance environment and use our considerable skills to develop new markets, new technologies and grow the business even further.
“Technological advances such as the move towards fully autonomous vehicles, present fresh challenges, and therefore opportunities, for our sector with the establishment of liability in the event of claims likely to be shared between insurer, vehicle manufacturer and original equipment manufacturer.
“Cyber risk, and its associated management, is a true growth market globally as more companies acknowledge the existential risk which this poses.
“The prominence of this subject has grown considerably over the recent years with a higher incidence of increasingly public data breaches. Interestingly, this is a risk which is an element of most items to be found on the risk register of most businesses and therefore cannot be ignored on the basis that a business has yet to suffer a large breach.
“I have spent a considerable amount of time working with cyber security specialists to understand this risk; there is certainly commercial value in developing an appropriate response.
“In the same vein, the cyber security risk in modern connected cars has clear implications for the motor insurance industry and will be an area of considerable focus for us.
“It is technology which is driving change in unprecedented ways and, as a leading FinTech business in Guernsey, First Central Group is well-positioned to take advantage of these developments to broaden our markets and our partnerships.”
Group Chairman and CEO, Mike Leonard, said: “Simon is well known for his innovative thinking and motivating leadership. His move to First Central Group is a key indicator of our commitment to Guernsey; he will be a key player in planning and executing our long-term strategy.”