Everything You Need to Know About Applied Systems Europe
| Connections Editor | Mar 2 2021
Getting to Know Applied’s European business CEO Andy Fairchild
Just over one year ago, Applied Systems named Andy Fairchild the CEO of Applied Systems Europe. In the role, Fairchild is responsible for leading Applied’s UK and Ireland (UK&I) operations, and driving its regional growth mission. Fairchild’s more than 30 years of expertise in both broker and insurer distribution environments, includes his most recent role as retail managing director for Jensten Group. Prior to Jensten Group, Andy was CEO of Broker Network, the largest and longest-established general insurance broker network in the UK, where he delivered an expansive strategy built around members, partner acquisitions and products. Read on for more on Fairchild and what to expect from Applied Systems Europe in 2021.
Connections: Share a bit about your background in insurance and what led you to your role with Applied Systems.
Andy Fairchild (AF): My insurance history includes time with insurers, brokers, networks and now, the final connector, a Software House (as we call ourselves in the UK&I). I spent time as chief operating officer at AXA, leading sales, service, claims and change teams. I led the brokerage, Footman James. I was also CEO of the UK’s largest and longest-established network, Broker Network, where we pursued an organic and M&A strategy and brought EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from £3m to £16m+.
I’ve seen the industry from all angles, but mostly, I’ve loved supporting growth businesses, looking to invest and grow. Hence my journey to Applied with a strategy to take on the market and gain significant market share.
Connections: Almost one year ago on the dot, you joined the Applied Systems team to lead European business. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about Applied customers since then?
AF: UK customers are really so demanding of our carrier panels, and we are listening. We’ve built a really strong Personal Lines panel as part of our A-Plan implementation, and we’re completing the addition of the Commercial Lines panel to Applied Epic. We expect this market-leading Applied Epic functionality and the openness of our architecture to take on our competitors and deliver some great new options and functionality to customers.
Connections: As head of European business, a huge focus for you is growth and expansion in the market. How do you see growth evolving in 2021?
AF: Rather than evolving our growth, we are continuing on the momentum we’ve built in the European market. When we launched Applied Epic into the market a couple of years ago, we introduced the most technologically advanced cloud-based software application built for brokers. We are continually enhancing the system, advancing the core architecture and underpinnings to allow for greater openness for third-party integrations, faster product releases and simpler user experiences.
Along with these initiatives in our portfolio transformation, Applied is expanding its partnership with Google, broadening our access to resources including Google Cloud Platform, Google Big Query analytics, Apigee and many other Google technologies. These added resources will provide brokers with capabilities that leverage open API technology, data lakes, browser-native experiences, artificial intelligence and more.
Connections: This last year focused a lot on digital as a necessity. How do find agencies and brokerages in Europe are reinventing their approach to digital? Any trends you’ve noticed?
AF: I’d agree that our conversations with our customers have moved away from having to explain why technology is needed. They have evolved to conversations around what sort of technology should be adopted for their particular business.
For example, we are seeing our broker customers use technology to focus more on their customers, as they need more guidance during this unprecedented time. Brokers are encouraging use of their customer self-service portals and mobile apps as they are not able to physically mail documents as easily as when they were in the office. These technologies are delivering that 24/7 service that today’s customers expect while creating the digital experience that we are all used to utilizing online and on our phones.
Additionally, our customers say that their productivity is significantly higher and their expenses are lower by not having to print and mail documents to their customers. Automation is truly a win-win for everyone, including brokers and their customers.
Connections: As the sole UK-based executive on Team Applied, tell us what post-COVID travel destination is a must for members eager to get away. Also, we’re curious: What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise our readers?
AF: London (UK) is my hometown and, I know I’m biased, but I just love the place. So, to any of our customers in the U.S. or Canada looking for a trip, I’d just encourage you over here. Come watch some football or cricket!
Fun fact: I’m still a season ticket holder at my hometown football (soccer) team called Peterborough United, where I sit next to my best boyhood friend and a group of friends who have followed the team all of our lives.
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Tags: Commentary , Applied Systems , Leadership , Europe , Andy Fairchild