Belfast to be global hub for new Allstate telematics business ‘Arity'

Allstate NI managing director John Healy
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BELFAST is to be the global hub of a new standalone division of the Allstate Corporation which has just been created in the US to collect data on drivers and sell analytics products to third parties.

And as many as 200 jobs will be created in insurance giant Allstate's soon-to-open £30 million Belfast headquarters specifically to service the new telematics business, which is called Arity.

Arity has already been incorporated in Northern Ireland and is fully capitalised, and it will eventually sell its technology to insurance companies and other players in the car industry.

"This is a standalone company, completely new to Northern Ireland, and the ambition Allstate has for our operations here is fantastic," the company's regional managing director John Healy told the Irish News.

He admits to be "incredibly excited" at Allstate NI's move next December from its existing Lanyon Place to a new six-storey state-of-the-art HQ on the old Maysfield leisure centre site near Central Station.

It will house around 1,300 staff, including 400 additional seats to its existing offices, and the jobs will run alongside Allstate's 500 employees in Strabane and 400 in Derry.

"This will be a ground-breaking facility and gives us the opportunity to create an inspirational working space fit for a world-class technology organisation with a commitment to innovation, imagination and building digital technology of the future," said Healy, who's been in the top Allstate role for just a year.

"This huge investment - and the decision at a corporate level to locate Airty in Belfast - underlines Allstate's long-term commitment to Northern Ireland and is an indication of the role our people here play in the company's strategic global technology delivery model."

Allstate, which was set up in 1999 as Northbrook Technology before being re-branded 10 years later, is Northern Ireland's largest employer of technology professionals.

But Healy expects that number to grow rapidly with the arrival of Arity, which he says will take the company's non-insurance assets and maximise them.

Allstate has been using telematics for at least six years to help clients drive safely and obtain rewards. Effectively, the system will provide more accurate predictions about drivers so that insurance companies can better price their driver policies.

From its new base in Belfast, Arity will incorporate new data sources and enhance analytical capabilities in ways is couldn't do when it was embedded in the insurance company.

He said: "Allstate Insurance has built what it thinks is great technology for determining the likelihood of individual drivers getting into car accidents. Now it wants to make that software available to other businesses.

"Arity has been born from an internal effort to collect driver data and develop tools for assessing driver risk. It will sell its software tools to other companies, including insurance providers, car manufacturers, and transportation companies."

The new Allstate building includes more than 140,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, extensive refurbishment of the towpath and adjacent boat marina and a restaurant unit at ground level with unrivalled views of the river.

Allstate NI has worked collaboratively with architects WDR-RT-Taggart and construction company O’Hare & McGovern to create what it says it a "headquarters that is inspirational, distinctive and built for innovation".

So far this year the company crowned ‘Most Impactful Tech Multinational’ at the Digital DNA Awards, won the ‘Best Place to Work Award’ for the fifth time at The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards and received the ‘Long Service Award’ and ‘National Gold Employer of the Year Award’ from Investors in People.

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