British Insurance Association (1972-1973)

Company Overhead:

The British Insurance Association is a British trade association for insurance companies. I worked for the Motorist Risk Statistics Bureau, which received accident and claim data from member insurance companies and produced various statistical analysis that would be used by the member companies to set insurance rates.

The B.I.A. had an IBM 360/30 with 32K of memory, a pair of 2311 disk drives and 4 tape drives (2415s if I remember correctly, three were 9 track and one was 7 track). The workload was mainly tape based statistical analysis jobs plus a small amount of programming support. Program source was card based. The operating system was DOS/360.

My Involvement:

I joined the B.I.A. as a trainee computer operator and left after 18 months because growth potential there was limited. As a computer operator, my main tasks were to initiate batch jobs, mount and dismount tapes, and reply to console messages.

We did have some variation from the normally mundane task of keeping the mainframe going:

Shining Moment:

I read and fully understood the 360 Orientation Course and the 360 Principles of Operation. I was able to write small programs in machine code - the only programming language I knew was Fortran from University, but now I knew IBM 360 machine code. Not just the 360 instructions, but also the commands to access peripherals - I could create CCW chains to read from disk or write to the printer. These were, of course, stand alone programs - that is, they were not running under the operating system - I'd use the console and dials to enter the code and then point the PSW at the first instruction to run it (or maybe I changed the IPL CCW, I don't remember).