Client: Connected Competitive Fund - Belfast Met & QUB supports Map Cover
Knowledge Provider: Belfast Metropolitan College & Queen's University
Sector: Financial Services
Connected Competitive Fund - Belfast Met & QUB supports Map Cover
Connected Competitive Fund provides support to local companies to collaborate with Colleges and Universities to explore innovative and emerging technologies. Map Cover produce, maintain and deliver insurance product cover comparison tools. The company have been working successfully in Republic of Ireland producing live comparison of the cover provided by competing car, home and van insurance products. This comparison was conducted manually and collated into a dashboard, taking several days each month to complete. Map Cover approached Belfast Met for support to explore automating the process and investigate how technology such as Machine Learning could be applied. This support was made possible through the Connected Competitive Fund Project.
Map Cover produces, maintains, and delivers comparison tools for insurance cover. The company has been working successfully in the Republic of Ireland, producing live comparison of the cover provided by competing car, home and van insurance products. This has given vital insight into insurance coverage across the market. However, the comparison process was conducted manually and collated into a dashboard, taking several days each month to complete. This method had been feasible in the Republic of Ireland market due to a small number of insurance providers and policies but left their expansion options limited, as it was not feasible to apply the same method to the much larger UK market.
Map Cover approached Belfast Met for support and were able to gain access to the Connected Programme. Connected provides support to companies exploring innovative and emerging technologies. Through Connected, Map Cover engaged with Belfast Met Lecturer, Martin Naughton, to explore automating the process and investigate how technology such as machine learning could be applied. Having discussed a potential technological solution to this issue, Map Cover successfully applied for an Invest NI Innovation Voucher, securing £5,000 that enabled them to develop a proof-of-concept solution with Belfast Met. The project demonstrated how automation could be applied to the process in the Republic of Ireland market, which would reduce working time from 2 working days down to a matter of minutes.
With a viable solution presented, Map Cover was keen to investigate the local machine learning eco system from both a service provider and academic perspective. Belfast Met developed an overview to illustrate the machine learning expertise across Northern Ireland, which led to conversations with the College’s peers at both Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University.
Based on the success of the Innovation Voucher and the level of support available within Northern Ireland, Map Cover were keen to test the possibility of applying further machine learning techniques to the UK insurance market. A joint bid from Belfast Met and QUB was successful in securing £34,000 of funding from the Connected Competitive Fund to develop a UK marketplace prototype machine learning solution on behalf of Map Cover. The Connected Competitive Fund provides funded support from Higher Education and Further Education academic partners to work together to explore and develop innovative new concept.
As a result of the Connected Competitive Fund project, extensive research and development into the levels of automation and initial training of an algorithm approach to data extraction and understanding where achieved. Approximately 100 UK based insurance policies were processed through the algorithm to test the model for accuracy and logical understanding. This has provided Map Cover with a clearer road map as they further develop their InsurTech platform and build towards launching into the UK marketplace.
In addition, for Map Cover’s innovative new product concept and the developments taking place both on this project and throughout the business, Map Cover was awarded Platinum Level Innovator accreditation by Innovate NI on behalf of Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.
“We have been working with Belfast Met since 2019. At that time, we sought help with an Innovation Voucher supported proof of concept project on use of AI. From then we have developed a productive relationship with the Belfast Met Business Development Team.
I am very grateful for the support that Belfast Met has provided to Map Cover. We deliver innovative and disruptive products. The Business Development Team have taken time to understand our business. They have provided support and guidance that has helped us to make progress on delivery of our business plan.” Martin McRandal FCII | Managing Director