Leading US insurance agency taps into Northern Ireland talent to build first-of-its-kind tech platform - SimplyIOA.
Insurance Office of America (IOA) is an insurance agency that provides property and casualty, employee benefits, and personal lines insurance coverage to more than 72,000 clients. With $2.5 billion of insurance premium written annually, IOA is the 4th largest privately held insurance brokerage in the United States, employing 1,300 associates in 60 locations across the US and now, in Northern Ireland.
In September 2020, IOA opened a technology centre in Belfast for its new quote-and-buy home and auto insurance platform, SimplyIOA, the first independent insurance comparison service of its kind in the US. IOA initially planned on having 40 new software engineering and data science roles, but within nine months, because of the strong talent pool, the company decided to put a portion of its enterprise systems roles in Northern Ireland.
Today, the Belfast team also supports IOA’s enterprise wide digital technology services in areas including IT, infrastructure and operations, cyber security, data science and engineering, application development, and intelligent automation.
When IOA began looking at technology hubs across the US and Europe, Northern Ireland was at the top of the list. The region’s deep pool of highly skilled technology talent and the education system that cultivates this expertise were a perfect match for IOA’s need for experts in software engineering, cyber security, data science, and machine learning.
Once IOA decided to build its technology centre in Belfast, Invest NI took a consultative, collaborative approach to working with the company, making it easy for them to set down roots. Based on IOA’s five-year plan, Invest NI helped the company formulate growth strategies, advising on what support could be available for job creation, training and development, and R&D.
Invest NI provided IOA assistance to support new job creation and a variety of soft landing support. The company expects to expand its presence in Northern Ireland even further over the next five years. In the words of IOA Chairman & CEO Heath Ritenour, “This is the smallest we’re ever going to be.”