Interview with our Product Director, James Whitlam

By Liz Churchman - November 04, 2022

Celebrating three years at Concirrus, Product Director James Whitlam took some time out to tell us about his journey so far…

What’s been your biggest highlight?

In a broad sense, being able to apply what I have learned throughout my career prior to Concirrus, but now in a completely data driven way with a fast-growing technology company that is truly changing the way in which an industry is operating. It has given me the opportunity to work with true experts in the fields of product development, data science, machine learning, and entrepreneurship. It has been fantastic to collaborate with people with such different skillsets and bring the vision for the company to life.

There have also been some specific highlights, such as being interviewed by ITV News at 10 following the grounding of the Ever Given containership in the Suez Canal back in 2021. More recently, I also had the opportunity to present at the annual IUMI conference, which was held in Chicago this year. It was fantastic to speak on behalf of the IUMI Big Data & Digitalisation forum to discuss the role of the InsurTech in implementing an ESG strategy in marine underwriting. This was the first in-person conference following the pandemic, and it was great to be back in front of key industry players following the hiatus.


What’s been your biggest challenge?

Successfully effecting change through new technologies and digital transformation always must consider the three pillars which underpin organisational efficiency: People, Process and Technology.

 Learning this through a technology company that is revolutionising the way in which an industry operates has been a fantastic learning opportunity, but at the same time the biggest challenge. It is often the case that the technology part of the equation is the ‘easy’ part. Of course, it can take huge investment, as has been the case with Concirrus’ infrastructure, but once you have built a software platform or developed a set of algorithms to model the global shipping fleet, they will typically continue to operate with minimal issues and intervention.

 The more complex part is getting the People and the Process aspects right, and this applies both internally but even more so externally. Working with the market to change century-old processes to utilise data and technology has been challenging, and yet very rewarding when we get it right and we start seeing the market evolving.


What makes Concirrus a great place to work?

As I mentioned, Concirrus is at the forefront of fundamentally transforming the way in which an industry operates, something which few companies can claim to be doing. This brings huge opportunities for learning, development, and freedom to explore and test new ideas in a company that embraces innovation.

The team is made up of people from many different backgrounds that come together in a very collaborative and supportive environment. In terms of the trajectory of the industry, it is also only going in one direction where data and technology will play an ever-increasing role. Concirrus is at the centre of this change within marine insurance, which will no doubt mean that exciting opportunities continue to present themselves into the future.


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