What Does IT Think? CIOs Better Have the Right Answer

If you read Deloitte’s 2012 Global Insurance Outlook (or read my interview with Deloitte’s Sam Friedman), you had to be struck by the use of the word “revolutionary,” which Friedman, co-author of the outlook, used to describe CIOs.

He wrote: “As tech transforms insurer operations, chief information officers are becoming more than just stewards of systems and processes. As high-level strategists, CIOs will perhaps become ‘revolutionaries’ within their companies as they are increasingly called upon to suggest how insurers can break out of traditional ways of thinking and operating.”

The second sentence in that last paragraph has to be inspiring for anyone interested in a leadership position in insurance IT. Certainly many people within an insurance office see themselves as high-level strategists, but most of them are saddled with traditional ways of thinking and operating.

IT leaders are surrounded by too many exciting opportunities to be saddled with anything (other than legacy systems). There are not many areas within a company that aren’t being improved in some ways or another through technology.

Some underwriters may believe their work remains as much art as it is science, but certainly anyone moving up the promotion chain in the underwriting field is looking at tools for automation to free them from working on simple personal lines policies and to analytics to make the more difficult underwriting decisions easier to explain.

Are there agents that believe technology can’t improve the selling process? With so much of the personal lines market going direct to consumers, today’s agents have to be proficient in mobile technology and social media to retain customers and attract new ones.

The word “revolutionary” has never seemed to fit insurance. The industry has slowly evolved over the last decade or more, but evolution seems to be too slow a pace for our world in 2012. have to be thankful that the day has arrived when the first question out of the mouths of anyone running a strategic planning meeting is, “What does IT think?”

Those of us involved in insurance technology—either as participants or as observers—

With that question comes added pressure, though; the kind of pressure that business leaders have dealt with far longer than their IT counterparts.   

Be prepared to answer that question, IT leaders. The future of your company could depend on it.

About the Author
Robert Regis Hyle, PropertyCasualty360.com

Robert Regis Hyle, PropertyCasualty360.com

Robert Regis Hyle is editor-in-chief of Tech Decisions magazine and technology channel editor for PropertyCasualty360.com. He has spent over three decades as a journalist for a variety of business and regional news publications including a stint with a weekly newspaper that he owned and operated. He has been with Tech Decisions since the magazine’s inception in 1999 and has written articles on virtually every issue and trend facing insurance IT professionals. Prior to joining Tech Decisions, he spent two years as editor of a sister publication, The Ohio Underwriter, where he covered insurance topics for the agency and carrier markets. He has spoken on insurance technology issues at various industry conferences such as IASA and ACORD LOMA and on a number of web seminars. He is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati with a degree in Communication Arts. Hyle may be reached at rhyle@sbmedia.com

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