US insurance firm sets up shop in Belfast with new tech centre

Florida-based Insurance Office of America (IOA) plans to create 40 jobs in Belfast by 2022.

A FLORDIA-based insurance firm has announced its plans to create up to 40 jobs in Belfast.

Insurance Office of America (IOA) has already recruited 21 people for the technical development centre, which will be largely responsible for the development of its new quote-and-buy insurance platform, SimplyIOA.

The platform uses data and machine learning to allow personal insurance customers to compare quotes and buy coverage online in under three minutes.

The head of the firm’s personal lines and small business unit is former Hughes Insurance chief executive Brian McDowell, who now resides in Florida.

Speaking about the company’s move to Belfast, he said: “For a project of such strategic importance, it was vital that the team responsible for development and implementation be of the highest calibre. Northern Ireland had a strong insurance sector, the technical skills and expertise, and the work ethic we needed to accomplish our goals.”

Mr McDowell said the decision to invest followed a detailed visit programme that included meetings with universities, existing investors and professional services companies,

“In the end, the senior team was left with no doubt that it was a good fit,” he said.

“We have got off to a great start with the team in Belfast, with 21 roles already in place and staff all currently working from home. This has only cemented that the decision to choose Northern Ireland was the right one. I am really looking forward to seeing what the team can deliver.”

Invest NI has offered the company £446,000 toward the move, with the 40 jobs expected to be in place by 2022. The economic support agency said the jobs will eventually contribute £1.8m in wages.

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