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Admiral's Mike Jones: OS OpenData is a fantastic resource

Mike joined Admiral in September 2002, having previously studied for a degree in Maths and Operational Research at Cardiff University. He spent eight years working in Admiral's motor pricing teams in the UK and Europe, before, in 2011, joining a small team working towards launching a home insurance product. Admiral launched its home product in December 2012.

How long have you been using Ordnance Survey data and what do you find most useful?

‘When I began to research home insurance, one of the obvious key areas of importance was geography; the ability to assess risk at various locations, but also monitoring and controlling the build-up of your exposures. As such, in mid-2011, I began looking at geographical information systems (GIS) and the various data sources available. Whilst this was initially daunting, given my complete lack of experience in this area, the quality of support from Ordnance Survey and software providers was superb.

OS OpenData™ is a fantastic resource for starting to understand what is available and start to get to grips with working with geographic information. Having proven that GIS could open up many interesting analytical projects, we added some of the premium datasets.

‘It’s great to learn about Ordnance Survey’s ongoing work to enhance its offering via datasets such as AddressBase® Plus and AddressBase Premium. As a company, we are also doing a lot of work on telematics in motor insurance, and I think we may be close to a stage where technology allows this to shift from a niche segment to more of a market norm. There is a huge challenge in handling and intelligently using the vast volumes of data that can be collected in this way. I can see Ordnance Survey data becomingan increasingly important aspect of the UK motor market in the upcoming years.’

What, in your opinion, are the key issues facing the financial services industry over the next 12 months?

‘I feel that the recent EU Gender Directive sets a worrying precedent, whereby factors that are tried and tested predictors of insurance risk are deemed unusable in pricing, and something the industry should keep a close watch on is whether other factors such as age and location are subject to similar regulatory change. The UK insurance market is one of the most transparent and competitive in the world, and I feel it is imperative that we retain the freedom to make data-driven decisions on how to price and underwrite business. For home insurers, reaching clarity over the Statement of Principles and what the future of flood insurance looks like, is a key issue where a resolution is needed urgently.’

Tell us something not many people know about you? A fun fact or claim to fame, for example.

‘I have a slightly cruel sense of humour. For example, proposing to my girlfriend last April Fools’ Day! Happily, it didn’t backfire and the wedding is this summer.'

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