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Andy Fairchild on what the future holds for Applied Systems

Andy Fairchild on what the future holds for Applied Systems | Insurance Business UK

Andy Fairchild on what the future holds for Applied Systems

Speaking with Insurance Business a mere day into his tenure as CEO of Applied Systems Europe, Andy Fairchild (pictured above) made no secret of his delight at being back in the driving seat within the insurance industry. The time is right for Applied, he said, to move on to its natural next phase which he believes will be characterised by significant growth both for the business and its market share.

Fairchild’s appointment is the result of many months of conversation of discussion with Applied Systems, he said, and also of the deep cultural alignment he shares with the organisation.

Read more: Former Broker Network CEO Andy Fairchild to lead Applied Systems Europe

Jeff Purdy (pictured below), senior vice president of international operations at Applied Systems, outlined how, when it became clear that the business needed an infrastructure domiciled within the significant growth markets of the UK and the Republic of Ireland to take the business unit to the next level, an exhaustive search for the right candidate was conducted.

“We were very fortunate to get Andy interested in joining us,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have him and look forward to this business becoming what it really should be in the fullness of time.”

The time is right for Applied to operate as a standalone business unit in Europe, Fairchild said, due to its fantastic base within the region. Local infrastructure infused with local leadership, is the key strategy Applied Systems will be utilising to maintain its growth within this market, Purdy stated, and he believes that having a CEO on the ground who is responsible for creating a culture that helps drive the business forward is essential.

The team is looking to grow circa 40% this year, he said, and having the right people leading that charge will result in faster product development and a service infrastructure which is able to keep pace with the expected growth. This pace of change within the business will have an impact on the brokers who utilise Applied System’s technologies, he stated, as the speed of product delivery into the market is increased.

There is a gap within the lifecycle of the insurance sector from consumers being digitally enabled right through to the insurer binding the policy, Purdy said, and Applied is able to utilise capabilities which are mature in other markets within the European market, and vice versa.

“With all respect to our competitors in this marketplace,” he said, “we think we have a point-in-time opportunity to take market share, and having infrastructure in place in a regional business unit, with an executive team living and breathing that opportunity every day, will enable us to take this share, and then enable our infrastructure to keep pace with that growth.”

Listening to the concerns of brokers has allowed Applied Systems to develop a keen understanding of what keeps leaders in the insurance broking space up at night and recent research from PwC corroborates Purdy’s statement that the key concern within the insurance sector is the ability to move at pace. Brokers, he said, are growing or not growing their businesses depending on whether they can enable their consumers correctly.

“Technology is changing so rapidly in all aspects of the consumers’ life,” he said. “The ability for our customers to keep pace…is [being] informed by the other aspects of their life outside of insurance, such as the Amazon buying experience.”

The consumer of today demands more of all their service providers, Purdy said, and what Applied Systems seeks to do is to enable brokers to, in turn, enable their consumers effectively.

With broker communication and support being key elements of Applied Systems’ value proposition, there is perhaps no better fit for the role of CEO of this business unit than Fairchild whose previous roles include that of CEO of Broker Network. Fairchild stated his hope that his long-term connections and relationships within both the broking and the insurance market in the UK will support him throughout his leadership journey.

The ambition of Applied within the UK is very significant, he added.

“In our sights is the enhancement of the broker customer experience, pace of change, product delivery and relationships with insurers,” he said. “All of these are strategically important for me and for the leadership team at Applied in the UK.”

What the market really requires, according to Purdy, is someone to invest in providing brokers with what they need, and he believes that, from a technology perspective, brokers have more requirements than they ever have before. This is what Applied intends on delivering in this market, he said, and to do that it needs local expertise which is where Fairchild leading the business unit becomes so essential to its continued success.

The appointment of Fairchild is a pivotal moment in Applied Systems history, Purdy said, and its strategic development of this business which is focused on the long-term journey of becoming a market leader.