Tom Gumbrell, Underwriting Services Managing Director tells us about his development journey at Hastings Direct and provides insight into what our Underwriting Services department are responsible for.

Tell us about your background and what led you to Hastings Direct?

Having just completed my A levels, my intention was to join a local company for a brief stint while I figured out what I do with myself. 21 years later and here I am, having just been promoted to Underwriting Services Managing Director at Hastings Direct! My first job at Hastings was actually in telesales but my curiosity lead me into Underwriting a couple of years into my tenure here. Understanding why some customers paid more or less than others was fascinating to me - I learnt that the answers could be found in the data and this very quickly became my passion. 

Professional and personal development is part of Hastings Direct culture. What do you think about it and how it affects you?

Without professional and personal development I would not be sitting here now writing this blog so I firmly believe it is a critical part of our culture here at Hastings Direct. Over the years I have worked under some fantastic leaders who have all supported my personal development, helping me to identify new things that I need to learn and behaviours that I need to work on. Since becoming a leader myself I have always tried to pay that forward by supporting others in the same way with a view to nurturing and growing the next generation of talent.

Can you tell us a bit about the work you and your team do at Hastings Direct?

My team are responsible for predicting the future! First predicting the likelihood of each customer making a claim, and then the likely cost of the claim. We do this by analysing vast quantities of data – data about the customer and data about the claims that we have received. Our analysis ranges from investigating the detailed circumstances of a single claim, through to applying the latest statistical techniques to interrogate millions of rows of customer data to search for trends. Our predictions are then used to determine which customers to insure and what price to charge them. The market dynamics that we operate in are such that charging the right or wrong price can have huge consequences, which makes the job both very exciting and challenging. 

Looking to the future, what are you excited about for Hastings Direct and how will your team look to contribute to those plans?

We have ambitious plans to continue growing our core business and also diversifying into new areas which will create lots of new opportunities and challenges. My team will play a key role in both activities – finding new ways of improving our existing pricing models and also learning about and developing pricing for new product lines. I am also really excited about some of the new concepts and approaches that we are testing, I am genuinely fascinated to see what we learn. 

Why should someone consider joining the Underwriting Services team at Hastings Direct?

First of all Hastings Direct is a fantastic company to work for - a FTSE250 company with a family feel where you really do get the opportunity to make a difference. The Underwriting Services team at Hastings are critical to the success of the business and have a real passion for leveraging the power of data to help shape and grow the business. I didn’t realise back in 1998 what it was that I was joining but I became hooked and still find my job incredibly challenging and interesting to this day. If you would like to start or continue to grow a career working with data in a fast paced, entrepreneurial environment then please check out our current vacancies.


If you would like to find out more about the opportunities in our Underwriting Services team, click here