Whitespace develops software for the insurance and claims sectors.
We work in niche areas where a tricky problem needs an elegant solution.
Sometimes the problem comes first. It might be a process that is wasting time. Or a new initiative that needs prompt delivery. We talk it through with the client and outline how we would work on it. The Risk Pricing system we developed for Aegis is a good example – an in-house use of spreadsheets needed to be replaced with a solid system that underwriters could use efficiently.
At other times, we build momentum using a new technology as it becomes mature enough for business use. We show that to potential clients, and find the person who shares our enthusiasm. The ReportCentre app and website we built for Argenta came from our work with distibuted databases for instance.
We’re a company of 20 people, with a 30-year reputation for looking after our customers. We’re based in Farringdon, a stroll to our customers in EC3 but with better lunch options. We’re owned by the people who work here, we’re profitable and have a strong balance sheet.
A major initiative for 2016 is our Agile Data practice. We all use mobile devices every day. Mobile technology has come to dominate the consumer market and is becoming more prevalent within the enterprise. The practice focuses on giving insurers new benchmarks in performance and engagement by deploying mobile technology alongside, and integrated with, traditional desktop systems.
In September 2017 we built and demonstrated the ability to create the ACORD GPM message from the Word copy of a Market Reform Contract. Now our contract digitisation can feed the most common method for reading risk data into systems. We’re encouraged by how many people around the London market are seeing how this work supports the TOM Vision.
In the summer of 2017 we moved code written for the iPad on to cloud servers. In one step we are able to take the business knowledge we have on the iPad, and make it available for other systems to use, through an Application Programming Interface (API).
In the first half of 2017 we worked on a Proof of Concept in digitising the Market Reform Contract. The scope was proposed by Miller Insurance Services: an Add-In for Microsoft Word that digitised the document so that it could be shared with carriers.
It’s always good to be first! In February 2017, we were the first company (on behalf of QBE) to transact syndicate expenses through the new interface created by Lloyd’s.
In January 2017 we demonstrated a Word Add-In for turning Market Reform Contracts into JSON that can be traded on our Couchbase platform, via iPads, Windows PCs or the API.
In December 2016 we published an API for our placing platform. This uses the Couchbase N1QL querying for the list endpoints, which worked really well. Most of the work went into making a website which both uses and documents the API.
In November 2016 we worked intensely on the design of our subscription market apps. Everyone we showed them to had said they were better than the competition. But that wasn’t enough. We wanted beauty and we wanted charm. By the end of the month the apps look great – now to see what the customers think.
September 2016 was all about Swift 3. It’s right that Apple should have the guts to introduce “breaking changes” in the language, which require us to review, adjust and sometimes fix every line of code that we’ve written. So it was a deep breath, team effort month. We felt much better by the end.
In August 2016 we put in our pitch for the Acord Innovation Challenge. We had made great strides with ways of handling ACORD. We had developed some slick Swift code for handling ACORD data in a type-safe way that’s easy to extend for new elements. And using JSON in a document database got rid of the old problem of translating an ACORD “message” – we handle it as data that can be persisted, viewed, edited and sent onwards.
In July 2016 we researched the Android development landscape, and built an Android version of the ReportCentre app. This was only done to a prototype level, telling us what we need to know in case we go down the route of parallel native app development.
In May 2016, the Argenta ReportCentre app was published on Apple’s AppStore. This complements the ReportCentre intranet system which Argenta use internally. The next phase will be interesting: making it suitable for the clients to use. Usability and security both will go up a notch.
In April 2016, the Aegis Pricing System went live across multiple classes of business. This project has moved from looking at Excel spreadsheets, through a Windows program to an intranet website.
We’re based in Farringdon, London EC1, which we love. There are full details on the Contact page.
The transport connections are excellent, the lunch options outstanding and it’s a pleasant walk to our customers in EC3. It will be even better when Crossrail is complete – at the moment it’s still a building site.
Cowcross Street is a one way road for traffic, yet the numbers go up one side and down the other. That’s why we can be at 30-31 Cowcross Street.
Any group of people should be defined by the surprising contradictions.
We’re a software company in Clerkenwell, yet the only consistently bearded people are over 40. Many of us are three-ball jugglers, but we don’t allow the use of fire torches in the office. At lunch-time, conversations are frequently in French, Polish or Japanese, but Messrs Suzuki and Bialobrzycki use English. We don’t have much staff turnover, yet are famous for our leaving parties, like our chocolate cooking class.
Individuals who might want to join the team should email firstname.lastname@example.org but recruitment agencies should not bother – he places a low value on your work.
Andrew Sedcole is Managing Director. He joined Whitespace in 1986 and quickly became established alongside the founders as a technical expert with an enthusiasm for gaining an in-depth understanding of clients’ businesses.
Andrew is chief architect of the SYNOPSIS system and is the head consultant for the company on solutions for the London Insurance market.
He holds a BA in Physics from Oxford University and in his spare time he enjoys skiing, tennis, and scuba diving.
Claire Stembridge joined Whitespace in 2003 with an MSc in Computer Science.
She was the obvious choice to run the Claimsuite team when it was established in 2006, which she has done with great success. She brings technical skills, exceptional communication skills and client empathy.
She would love to be able to spend more time horse riding.
Jonathan Ling is Finance Director and was appointed to his post in October 1998. He brings to the company 21 years experience of the Lloyd’s of London market.
Jonathan’s expert knowledge of the market has brought insight to the delivery of Whitespace’s Lloyd’s operations. He is responsible for the services provided to Members’ and Managing Agencies by Whitespace, which support over £1billion of capacity.
He has a FCA qualification and in his spare time he enjoys working with anything mechanical.
Jonathan Clarke founded Whitespace in the 1980s, and built it to 20 people. In 2006 he stepped down from a full-time role to mix in other ideas. These include small business finance in New Zealand and UK residential landlords. He is a trustee of ShareAction, a charity aiming to make the investment system a force for good.
In 2015, the Agile Data practice brought his primary focus back to Whitespace
Director, Agile Data Practice
Marcus Broome leads the team working on Agile Data technology for the insurance markets.
Marcus brings a wealth of experience of the Large Commercial Insurance market with a focus on the London Market. Marcus worked for a successful marine syndicate at Lloyd’s, before starting his own software company providing policy administration and exposure management software. ROOM Solutions (now NIIT Insurance Technologies) became a successful business with many customers in London, Europe, USA and Bermuda. His experience therefore dovetails well with our our own focus on insurance management systems.