Duncan Fenning
Jul 27, 2017
6 mins reading time

Meet the Team: Insurance Pod

At Holiday Extras, our Web Team works in pods. Each pod is a small team, of differing sizes, each with a strategic goal to work towards. Each pod consists of different roles, including a Pod Lead, an Agile Coach, multiple Software Engineers and Software Testers, as well as any other role required to ensure the pod meets its required strategic objective.

So lets introduce you to the Insurance Pod!

Pete Bishenden

Pete Bishenden

Role: Pod Lead

Time at HX: 2.5 years

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Getting the right balance between delivering commercial requirements, customer facing features and back end technical improvements.

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

Travel is different to other personal lines insurance products like home and motor as we’re providing cover for customers with pre-existing medical conditions. It makes the product a lot more personal. We’re not just asking about mileage and how many bedrooms your house has.

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

Working with a cross functional agile team means i get to work with a diverse group of personalities.

Give us a random fact about yourself

I’ve sang on stage at the Royal Albert Hall!


Sophie Chandler

Sophie Chandler

Role: Agile Coach

Time at HX: I have been at HX for just over a year.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Being an agile coach means that you need to be really flexible in your approach and be able to pivot and respond to change quickly. Sometimes this can mean changing teams and this requires you to get up to speed with a quick turnaround. Although it is a challenge it is also one on the things I love most about my role.

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

Travel insurance is an incredibly complex product and there is SO much to learn. I enjoy being able to work with lots of different team disciplines and being able to understand the impact of the tech work that we are delivering.

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

I enjoy having endless opportunities to learn, as an industry it is constantly evolving and there is always a new piece of software or tool to try out.

Give us a random fact about yourself

I’m a qualified rowing coach and have been rowing since I was 12!


Toni Hurcombe

Toni Hurcombe

Role: Insurance Specialist

Time at HX: 6 years

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

This would probably be the current tech that sits behind the Insurance Product. This can make it very difficult to ship solutions quickly and maintain the product.

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

Challenges everyday. There are constantly new things to learn about Insurance as it evolves at a very fast pace. What I enjoy the most, is that it is such a large and complex product, that you will never know everything there is to know, so everyday is filled with something new.

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

Our current VERY complex technical implementation of Insurance, which makes it interesting tech to work with. Constantly making you think and problem solve, which keeps me motivated and thinking of ways this can be simplified and improved for the future.

Give us a random fact about yourself

When I was 10, a poem I wrote was published in an anthology.


Martyn Stallwood

Martyn Stallwood

Role: Software Tester

Time at HX: Almost 4 years!

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

What I find quite difficult is deciding when enough testing is actually enough. You don’t want to spend hours on one bit of work but then again, you don’t want it to go out with any bugs. Finding a ‘safe time’ can be tricky.

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

For my role in particular, I love the investigation work. It sounds bad but I love finding a bug and trying to figure out whats caused it.

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

I enjoy learning about all the different platforms we use and the limitations they each have.

Give us a random fact about yourself

I have a despicable me minion tattoo’d on my leg.


Hein Behrens

Hein Behrens

Role: Software Engineer

Time at HX: 2.5 years

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Delivering the mix between commercial demands and technology wishes.

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

Growth is limited by our capability to deliver and market/sell. Not physical stock.

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

Constant change, 20% of what you know becomes irrelevant every year.

Give us a random fact about yourself

I’m from South Africa, but lived in Spain for 10 years.


Duncan Fenning

Duncan Fenning

Role: Software Engineer

Time at HX: 4 years

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Problem solving. It’s part of my role and its something I find myself doing everyday. Luckily for me, I find myself making the most of my problem solving skills outside of work, so I’m grateful for the challenge!

What do you most enjoy about the travel insurance business?

The diversity of the work is what I enjoy most. We get to work with so many different teams, each part of the wider Insurance business. No two days are the same and I find myself meeting lots of new people and learning all the time. It keeps me motivated!

What do you most enjoy about working in tech?

For me it has to be the people. Being a bit of a geek myself, I feel at home when working alongside others who enjoy tech as much as I do. We have a load of fun but at the same time, share a can-do attitude to getting things done. I never feel demotivated!

Give us a random fact about yourself

I’m a massive coffee snob… I blame my sisters for getting me hooked on coffee beans!


I hoped you enjoyed meeting the Insurance Pod and it gave you an insight into the pod structure we have at HX. Stay tuned for more Meet the Team posts, coming soon!

Tags team, tech, profiles, insurance, pod