Richard Watson was raised in a little village in North Lincolnshire where he was born in 1980. My favourite book as a young child was a very well-read edition of the Big Friendly Giant. I was an avid reader and enjoyed to lose myself in a book, especially one by Roald Dahl or Quentin Blake.
During the school summer break, my brother and I were always creating our own stories and comics, and it has always been a part of who I am. I specifically recall drawing various characters on paper that my dad had brought home from work. The paper had the company name and address printed in red on one side, but it didn’t matter.
I was interested in art throughout my time at school and discovered that I was naturally talented in it, which encouraged me to continue taking the subject at the A level, where I achieved an A.
At the Lincoln University School of Art and Design, I majored in illustration, and I graduated with a first-class BA honours. After graduating from university in 2003, I immediately started working as an illustrator after being hired by the Bright Agency.
I combine collage and mixed media with classic drawing and painting techniques to create my artwork. I regularly seek inspiration from interesting children’s books, art and illustration publications, and other sources in order to experiment and develop my style. I also enjoy going to museums, watching movies, and listening to music.
Richard Watson, a futurist speaker, author, and scenario thinker, is the publisher of What’s Next. Richard Watson assists organisations in thinking deeper into the future, particularly with regard to new growth prospects and threats.
Richard Watson is a co-founder of Thinking Allowed, a 24-hour getaway from the constant clamour of professional life, along with philosopher Professor Roger Steare and strategist Nick Turner. Richard Watson has worked with the Tech Foresight Practice at Imperial College London and London Business School. Five of Richard’s books have achieved great success, including Digital Vs. Human.
Currently, he holds the position of Futurist-in-Residence at Cambridge University’s Judge School Entrepreneurship Centre.
Richard Watson, the co-founder and CEO of Inigo Insurance, a specialist insurance and reinsurance start-up at Lloyd’s, will be the guest on this week’s episode of The Voice of Insurance. Mark Geoghegan and Richard Watson address the strategy and priorities of Inigo, ESG, the use of algorithmic underwriting, investing in data and smart technologies, and the reform of the Lloyd’s market in this conversation.
Richard Watson introduces the topic by talking about the inspiration for founding Inigo Insurance, which set out on its journey in 2020 and opened for operation in January of this year. The company culture of Inigo, which strives to hire only the best underwriters and apply cutting-edge thinking and analysis to specialised risk, is discussed in more detail by Richard on the podcast.
Richard Watson talks about culture and how he spent a lot of time considering how critical it was to establish a setting where people naturally want to come and work. According to Richard Watson, the capacity to promote an environment with little ego and lots of teamwork is a crucial component. Inigo’s culture also places a strong focus on learning and growth, in addition to enjoying fun: “It must be enjoyable. I hope this doesn’t sound clichéd, but I meet so many individuals who work in large organisations who feel completely overwhelmed by it and aren’t having fun anymore. I don’t think having fun and being professional have to be mutually exclusive.
Investing in Technologies
The insurance market is quickly moving from being an opportunity to a requirement as data-driven decisions and the application of analytics to every step in the insurance value chain increase. Richard Watson responds when Mark questions him about his opinions on analytics and smart technologies: “But I think in the bigger picture, the whole type of power of data analytics really hasn’t been deployed anywhere near as much as it could be. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’re still ranking risks in a way that is fairly simple.
Mark and Richard Watson discuss the possibilities to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve procedures as the subject shifts to cutting-edge technologies that are having an impact on the industry. The part that will assist you try to understand is it coincidence, is it causation, etc., is what I believe I find more interesting about machine learning and artificial intelligence, adds Richard Watson . He does, however, issue a warning that the sector should exercise prudence when looking at data sets and not expect technology to completely reinvent the wheel. “I think the way to open up performance over time is to work from your present base and use the data to make you 1 percent better here, 2 percent better here, and 1 percent better on this element.”
Startups benefit from the absence of old technologies. Mark queries whether Inigo is adopting this stance. We put a lot of time in the data and the analytics, Richard Watson responds. We positioned ourselves to be a business that truly relies on great people doing big things with science and data, so in order to accomplish that, you must invest in the teams and the capabilities. If we were to shout and scream about anything, I’d like to think it would be the fact that we hired a lot of excellent underwriters to work in fields where we knew they could offer value and where customers were interested in speaking with them.
Mark queries Richard Watson about whether algorithmic underwriting is appealing to him and his company or if it’s better suited to another form of business: “We’re all going to do it. If we aren’t already doing it, I believe everyone who watches your show will be doing this. It’s been there for a while, in my opinion, if you replace algorithmic underwriting with rules-based underwriting, which is essentially what it is.