Discovernet: Darren Burns leads our R&D Labs - Covernet - Smart Insurance Software

Discovernet: Darren Burns leads our R&D Labs


Job Title:

Solutions Architect


Over 20 years working in the IT industry. I have worked for several companies in different industries including industrial automation, investment banking, telecoms, and the public sector.

1. Why is R&D so important in the insurance industry and for Covernet?

The purpose of R&D is to investigate with the purpose of coming up with something innovative. A discovery that will lead to new services or products or enhancement and improvements of existing ones. It is a driver of modernization, progress, innovation, and invention that will result in increased effectiveness or functionality.

For the insurance industry R&D in technology can be used to automate workflows and remove historically manual processes. Enhancements in technology can be used to better develop the analysis of data and achieve a greater insight of risk and improve pricing accuracy. The development of new systems will improve back-office functions including the tracking of policies, processing of claims and overall experience of users.

At Covernet we wish to ensure our software architecture, application and processes remain modern and cutting edge and through R&D we will explore the opportunities to achieve this. By doing this we will support the operations of the business with improved and new techniques and in doing so improve the operations of our customers.

2. What is most challenging within the insurtech industry at present?

Cyber security is a major challenge for insurtech companies. Insurers typically collect a large amount of sensitive personal information that could be used for criminal purposes and are therefore a target for cyber-attacks. Malicious cyber incidents can cause business interruptions and can result in severe long lasting operational issues and reputational damage. Insurtech companies must keep up to date with new cyber threats and mitigate against them.

At Covernet applications use industry best practices to ensure protection against the most critical application security risks and our procedures are reviewed on an ongoing basis to keep pace with new threats, they are also audited externally as part of our ISO 27001 Certification.

3. What projects have been developed through the R&D lab to date?

The lab’s first major delivery was to develop a new future-state architecture for our main systems. We are using a modern and cutting-edge framework that can integrate seamlessly with our existing applications. The new architecture will lead to easier maintainability, improved testability and allow easier refactoring of component parts in the future, if necessary. The new architecture is supported by new automated processes to improve deployments and will be the basis for all new system developments we have planned.

4. Can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on?

We are continuing work on our Dynamic Product Framework. This is a project to enable the building of new products in a low code manner. Traditionally when a new product is being developed every form in the product is created individually by the developer. This can be a time-consuming process involving the production of a lot of new application code and the associated testing of that code. The goal of the dynamic product framework is to allow the user interface of the product to be produced by a configuration that is stored in a database.

The ultimate goal for the Dynamic Product Framework will be a world leading product builder, that provides our clients with a self-service tool to develop and maintain their own products, no matter how complex, while also benefitting from the rich system functionality that our current platforms provide.
We also have some exciting plans around Rates Analytics and introducing more RPA into both the policy issuance and claims management processes. So watch this space!