Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

We’re proud to be a company that encourages colleagues to be themselves and believe diversity of thinking strengthens the way we work and make us successful. As a data driven insurance provider we are continuously challenging our approach and thinking and therefore look forward to partnering with Women in Data again and to exchange ideas, partake in debate and learn from diverse perspectives as well as sharing our approaches to developing our inclusive culture that allows our colleagues to be who they are and thrive.

Charlotte Sandy, Actuarial Manager


Expertise: Emblem Risk Modelling, Data Preparation and Analysis, Motor Insurance

Education: BSc in Classical Mathematics


Charlotte is an Actuarial Manager within Underwriting Services at Hastings Direct, primarily focusing on developing competitive pricing assets for Motor Insurance products. Alongside managing a small team of actuarial analysts and data scientists, Charlotte’s role is comprised of two main responsibilities: Data and Risk Scores.

As part of the Data workstream, Charlotte transforms and combines the data extracts provided by Data Engineers with external data sources acquired by the company, to produce data extracts fit for modelling projects and analysis by the wider department. The Risk Scores workstream involves using innovative machine learning techniques to build predictive feature models, that feed into the larger pricing structure.

Charlotte enjoys the collaborative nature of data and analytics at Hastings Direct – getting to work with stakeholders in multiple business areas and understanding how the data and models produced align with the wider company goals.

Charlotte obtained a Bachelor of Science in Classical Mathematics from West Virginia State University and started her career in insurance straight away. She began in a Commercial Underwriter Rep role in the USA, moving into a Commercial Underwriting role in Australia a year later but soon realised she wanted a more technical role, where she could go deeper into the details of the data and help steer the analytical solutions being used to price insurance products. This led Charlotte to starting her career at Hastings as a Trainee Actuary, and studying towards her Actuarial qualification with the IFOA.

Throughout her three years at Hastings, she has further examined the importance of good quality data and is excited by all the possibilities this provides. There is never a shortage of development opportunities and new things to learn in a data and analytics role! From coding techniques and functions, to modelling algorithms, Charlotte thrives on trying new strategies and the dynamic nature of the industry.

Hastings has given Charlotte the opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues, in a comfortable and supportive environment while enjoying the open culture at Hastings, where colleagues are prioritised through inclusion, wellbeing, and career development.

Baoqi Zhang, Risk Pricing Analyst


Expertise: Data Visualization and Presentation, Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

Education: Imperial College London (MSc Biomedical Engineering), University of Edinburgh (BEng)


Baoqi joined Hastings Direct as a Risk Pricing Analyst, having started her career as a software engineer. With a very different work history,Hastings Direct gave Baoqi the opportunity to work in the area she found more fascinating. Hastings Direct encourages creativity and embraces colleagues with diverse backgrounds and Baoqi thrives on the support from her colleagues and the feeling she can be herself atwork.

The career framework offered at Hastings also gives clear pathways for development and performance evaluation.Baoqi has worked on different projects to improve business performance including being an integral part of projects including V5.V5 projects require working closely with teammates and colleagues across different teams and areas of the business.

Baoqi appreciates the responsibilities she has been given by her line manager and the trust and collaboration with her colleagues. She recognises her growth over the past two years with Hastings Direct and although there has been a lot of challenges, she can see the strength of colleagues working together to tackle any issues. Baoqi is looking forward to being able to go back to the office and meeting with her team in the not too distant future.

” Data is the fuel that runs Hastings and is critical to the present and future of our business”

How Hastings Direct see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

In the coming years there will be a significant shift towards the Cloud and Machine Learning. There is a huge synergy between these two, the Cloud enables swift processing of Big data and Machine Learning enables the modelling and analysis of the data.

Many companies have started looking at Machine Learning offline, however only a small proportion have felt comfortable leaning on it for actions that affect live activity, eg directly pricing using machine learning modes. This will be a further shift that is likely to take hold over the next 3-5 years.

For Hastings Direct our business model is built for how customers want to buy and manage their insurance. This supports our ambitious growth plans to become the best and biggest digital insurance provider. Data is the fuel that runs Hastings and is critical to the present and future of our business. Building trust and transparency is key to ensure customers understand how we use their data, how we rate risk and ultimately deliver the best price. Our ongoing investment in data and digital capability is at the core of the company’s ability to operate efficiently and effectively, and our ongoing investment initiatives will support our future growth.

about Hastings Direct

We are an agile, data and digitally focused general insurance provider to the UK car, van, bike and home insurance markets. Our vision is to be the best and biggest digital insurance provider. Hastings Direct is a trading name of Hastings Insurance Services Limited, the UK trading subsidiary of Hastings Group.