Head of Data Science

Head of Data Science

Haywards Heath or Manchester
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We’re First Central Insurance & Technology Group (First Central for short), an award-winning innovative insurance and technology organisation, delivering market-leading motor insurance, underwriting, distribution, finance, technology and legal services.

We have a fantastic opportunity for a Head of Data Science to join our Underwriting team in Haywards Heath, West Sussex or Salford Quays, Manchester.

You'll lead the central team that uses data science techniques to identify opportunities to create value from the wealth of First Central data assets, and supports implementation of solutions to realise the value. We'll need you to successfully manage a programme of research, data exploration and predictive model build/implementation/maintenance to enhance Pricing, Claims, Counter Fraud, Customer and Marketing processes.

This role is Certified in line with the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR)

Job responsibilities:
  • Create and maintain factors/indices useful to other departments’ core models/processes and create and maintain predictive models to feed and enhance other departments’ core models/processes
  • Engage stakeholders across the business, understand their departmental processes, identify/propose/agree potential data science enhancements to them
  • Lead projects to deliver agreed predictive models/datasets, working closely with stakeholders along the way to maintain engagement, to explore a variety of options and select optimal solutions
  • Maintain a focus on route to deploy/production of models/datasets and ensure steps to achieve that progress alongside the model/dataset build Build a strong network of close relationships across the business. Anticipate stakeholder needs & proactively manage key relationships internally & externally.
  • Be a visionary for improving data assets: Manage a programme of sourcing internal and external data in variety of formats and structuring it suitably for modelling and deployment
  • Play an active part in designing company programmes of data enhancement Create innovative new MI to answer business questions
  • Lead development and promotion of a data-driven cultureLead, motivate and develop the Data Science team, and define the framework for the team’s goals and objectives.
  • Continuous research into emerging data science techniques and technologies
  • Evaluate toolsets/platforms for efficient data science application Work collaboratively and seamlessly with the Group’s in-house technology provider
  • Lead, influence, motivate and co-ordinate people to deliver enhancements through a multi-disciplined, agile approach.
  • Role-model best practice predictive modellingImprove efficiency and clarity of coding Ensure model design and assessment is fair and avoids self-fulfilling/over-fit outcomes
  • Build models with ethical outcomes at their core

Job-specific competencies
Experience, knowledge & skills

  • Extensive hands-on experience applying data science techniques to general insurance predictive modelling problems
  • Strong track record of stakeholder management, modelling projects and successful deployment
  • Deep understanding and familiarity with a variety of statistical models (eg GBMs, GLMs, clustering techniques, etc)
  • Familiarity with UK open source data and datasets valuable to personal lines insurance pricing
  • Familiarity of risks associated with unstructured data, model deployment infrastructure and live deployment of data science solutions
  • Strong, contemporary programming/analysis/modelling skills: Expert Python user, and experience in a wide variety of data science packages and libraries
  • Experience with Cloud computing environments Data handling/exploration with a variety of tools (eg Databricks/Synapse, etc) Visualisation techniques
  • Strong technical leader, able to recruit and develop a strong team
  • Understanding of a service-based approach to directing a central/shared team

We’ve received some great feedback from employees on Glassdoor. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews for yourself and if this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, we look forward to hearing from you.

What can we do for you?

We believe we can offer you a great working environment as we’re so passionate about our people. Here are just some of the benefits and perks that we offer…

  • Fantastic training and development opportunities
  • Employee benefit packages to suit your lifestyle
  • Flexible working
  • YOUday – we give you an extra day off to celebrate a special day
  • The opportunity to take a paid day off each year to do charity work
  • A health cash plan
  • Help with travel expenses
  • The opportunity to buy additional holiday
  • Company pension scheme
  • Group life assurance
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity pay
  • Professional subscription fees paid

Employee wellbeing is high on the agenda here too. We provide a weekly free fruit delivery, discounted membership at a local health club and access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which promotes physical and emotional wellbeing at work and at home. In addition, we provide wellbeing events throughout the year to support physical and mental health.

For further information on what we can offer and to learn more about this role, feel free to contact our dedicated Recruitment team.

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86% of people would recommend a friend to work at First Central

Based on 164 Glassdoor reviews (March 2022)


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Flexible working

We support colleagues who wish to work flexibly whilst meeting the needs of the business.


If it’s your birthday or you just fancy some me-time, get an extra day off for whatever you want.

Holiday Extra

We give you two opportunities each year to buy or sell up to five days of holiday.


Get a day off each year to take part in volunteering activities.

Health cash plan

Claim money back on your healthcare costs, such as dental check-ups and eye tests.

Season ticket loan

We provide interest-free loans to cover the cost of season tickets for rail, bus or car parking.