VAVE-Blog-Image-Damien

Meet the VAVE team – Damien Smith, Head of Technology

by Amanda Palmer

Q: How did you end up in Vave?
A: My background is in Engineering, and I have completed a degree in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering as well as a Masters in Environmental Science and Technology. Following graduation I developed failure rate and optimisation models for the water industry.

In December 2013, I joined the Canopius Catastrophe Modelling team working on developing in-house tools and processes to further analytics and automation within the team. Nearly 3 years ago, I moved over to the Vave team and worked on the transition of a prototype API to a production cloud-based API. We now have a full suite of APIs supporting end to end policy lifecycle across 3 insurance products.

Q: What are the best aspects of your job?
A: I really enjoy working in a small and dynamic team, as it provides the opportunity to get involved in all the different elements of work that go into Vave, from the detailed technical design to front-facing client interactions. Vave is starting with a clean canvas, so we get to think about both existing and new problems without the bonds of older or legacy technology.

It’s great to be part of a team that is paving the way for a more efficient and sophisticated way of conducting insurance and being at the cutting edge of where the industry needs to be.

Q: What are you working on right now?
A: The most recent project I have worked on is our Commercial product. This product will give clients access to quote multiple commercial locations within seconds. This will be our first multi-location product, which brought many interesting technical and performance challenges to solve. In the next few weeks, I will get to see this come to life as clients begin to integrate with the API for this product. Despite the complexity, the Commercial API will return a bindable price within 5-10 seconds. This includes multiple calls to third-party data sources. We will push to improve the performance to bring it closer to the response time of our Flood and Homeowners products with an average of ~4s.

Q: What is your next big project on the horizon?
A: There are numerous projects on-going at the moment. One of the critical things we are focusing on is the expansion of some of our in-house tools/functionality to enable greater efficiency for current team members and new joiners. This will greatly increase the scalability of our products and will be key to Vave’s growth.

I am also involved in a number of projects to make our data more easily accessible to all team members and further drive more efficient data analytics. This is increasingly more important to us as we are currently getting over 10K quote requests a day, with each generating 100s of data points. Getting actionable insights from this data as quickly as possible is a key part of Vave’s success.

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