US fintech IOA creates 40 new AI jobs in Belfast

IOA’s Belfast team will be responsible for a first-of-its-kind insurance machine learning-based platform for the US market.

Florida-headquartered Insurance Office of America (IOA) is  setting up a 40-person technical development centre in Northern Ireland.

IOA is a full-service agency that provides property and casualty, employee benefits, and personal lines insurance coverage and risk management solutions.

“Northern Ireland has a strong insurance sector, the technical skills and expertise, and the work ethic we need to accomplish our goals”

The IOA team in the new technology centre will be largely responsible for the development of its new quote-and-buy insurance platform, SimplyIOA, the first of its kind in the United States. It will also provide technical expertise and operational support across the IOA enterprise.

Data science

SimplyIOA, which is underpinned by data science and machine learning, allows personal insurance consumers not only to compare quotes but also to buy home and auto coverage online in under three minutes from the insurance providers across the US.

“For a project of such strategic importance, it was vital that the team responsible for development and implementation be of the highest calibre,” said Brian McDowell, president of IOA Personal  Lines and Small Business Unit, a Northern Ireland native now living in Florida and former CEO of Hughes Insurance.

“Northern Ireland has a strong insurance sector, the technical skills and expertise, and the work ethic we need to accomplish our goals.”

According to the CEO of Invest NI Kevin Holland, the project will contribute nearly £1.8m in wages to the Northern Ireland economy.

Invest NI has offered assistance of £445,762 towards the new jobs and skills development programme.

“This new technical development centre in Belfast is clearly of real strategic importance to Insurance Office of America,” Holland said. “It is therefore vital the company chooses the right location for such a project. I am delighted that we were able to support Brian to position Northern Ireland as that place.

“As well as offering roles in software development, data analytics, data science and IT support with very attractive salaries, the company is also committing to a programme of skills development and training for the new recruits. This training is at both a management and technical level to ensure the staff are at the forefront of advancing industry developments.”

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 23 September, 2020