VSJ – July 2004 – Members’ News

Tony Grimes, a student at IAP Education Partner Lincoln University, has developed a new software system that will allow insurance brokers to eliminate paper cover notes.

Tony is a full-time sales representative for the insurance firm Broker Direct and studies Computing Software Development part-time at the University.

“There are software systems that will print cover notes but they can’t cope with all eventualities, so from time to time brokers have to issue a manual cover note on paper in books that produce carbon copies,” said Tony. “These paper copies can be subject to quite a high degree of fraud even though backdating cover notes is illegal. Our new system doesn’t allow you to backdate; it forces you to enter correct data.”

The system is now being rolled out in stages to around 1,200 insurance brokers throughout the country, representing about 20 per cent of the nation-wide total.

“The benefits are clear,” said Tony. “Using this new system we won’t have to pay for paper cover notes and we’ll cut back on resources spent on auditing. The system can also be easily updated as Broker Direct introduces new products.”

Tony will be writing a review article on the package in a future ‘IAP News’. In the meantime, you can get more information by ringing Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager, University of Lincoln, on 01522 886042 or emailing jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk.

New Fellows

We are pleased to welcome the following new Fellow, who has been admitted to the Institution.

Michael Peat

Michael Peat was able to learn computing because his school backed on to Heriot-Watt University, and they very decently let him play with their Burroughs B5700 mainframe.

Starting early has since allowed him to acquire a prodigious range of skills, but initially he did not see his future in IT, and graduated as a historian. However, in 1981, convalescing from a long illness, he took a job with Edinburgh stockbrokers Wood Mackenzie, and transferred to their Systems and Programming department as the light dawned.

This was followed by a short period with Phoenix Microsystems, a London based software house, but by 1989 Michael had decided to set up his own company, Unicorn Business Systems, to design, build and maintain bespoke software systems. The company was the major UK agent for DataFlex, taking over responsibility for servicing 30,000 UK licensees when the parent company went broke. In 1998 the business of Unicorn was split, a new company, Unicorn Financial Solutions, being formed to concentrate on the development of specialised software for administration of the stockbroking business.

We also congratulate four IAP Members who have recently been upgraded to Fellow in recognition of the development of their careers over a number of years.

Lawrence Oke

A man of wide talents and interests, Lawrence Oke obtained his degree in Business Management in the mid-eighties, then lectured in Computing and Commercial systems for a time at Hastings School of Management. In 1990 he moved to work on the Police National Computer at Hendon where he remained for five years. The work involved devising test programmes and getting the bugs out of the system. This led on to a post as Computer Systems Auditor for the Home Office Inspectorate of Constabulary, a primary responsibility here being to ensure that police operations did not breach the Data Protection Act. Since 1997 Lawrence has been IT Project Manager for P&O Ferries.

Alan Saxon

Alan was an apprentice engineer with the Ministry of Defence, remaining with the Ministry in a variety of roles, some involving early business computing systems, throughout the eighties.

In 1990 he took a job as Analyst Programmer at a canning factory, but quickly became Business Systems Manager and in charge of all the on-site IT. He has remained with this company – Alcan Packaging – to this day, and is now SCT Manager Food Flexibles Europe. During his time at Alcan, Alan has built up a formidable arsenal of technical, business and interpersonal skills. He has global responsibilities.

Robin Jones

Robin began his career, in hardware, in the mid-1960s with the BBC’s Engineering Department but fairly rapidly made the switch to software development, following his degree in Electronics with an MSc in Computer Systems and Cybernetics. He subsequently spent many years in Further and Higher Education, teaching, dabbling in Artificial Intelligence research and writing on Computing and AI topics. He has had 19 books published, variously translated into a total of 12 languages. He left the world of academe about ten years ago to establish a computer consultancy and since 1998 he has acted as the IAP’s Education Officer.

Simon Budd

Simon joined Ferranti Naval Systems on a 2-year Software Engineer Training Scheme that included day release. On completion he joined Ferranti as a Software Engineer, remaining until 1994. The work on defence systems required mastery of a wide range of software techniques, and provided an invaluable foundation for Simon’s future career. While studying to complete his HND he decided to take a job as a Business Systems Programmer at the Southampton Institute. But he had hardly been there a year when he was re-head-hunted by Ferranti (now AMS), where he has remained ever since. Simon is currently their Head of Process (Engineering).

[Don’t forget to email eo@iap.org.uk with items of news about you or your company.]

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