LOMA: Insurance CIOs Discuss Integral Role of Technology in Their Companies' Strategic Plans

May 08, 2012, 08:00 ET from LOMA

ATLANTA, May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology should play a integral role in developing and advancing the overall business strategy of a company, according to a panel of five life insurance chief information officers (CIO) interviewed by LOMA.

"It starts with the way we communicate about technology," said Tim Schaefer, senior vice president and CIO, Northwestern Mutual. "Too often we focused on distinguishing IT from the rest of the business; now we are breaking down those walls to focus on commonalities."

Today, the amount of technology change is staggering, and there is an increased expectation that IT plays a greater role in delivering enterprise value.  LOMA's Resource magazine talked with CIOs from five life insurers to get some insight into the technology trends, initiatives and challenges that they are seeing.

In addition to Schaefer, the CIO panel included Robert Casale, executive vice president and CIO, MassMutual; Doug Fisk, vice president and CIO, US Solutions, The Principal Financial Group; Joseph Cooper, executive vice president, global services, and CIO, Manulife Financial; and Greg Driscoll, vice president and CIO, Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The CIOs agreed that mobile apps, social media, cloud computing and other new technologies can all help insurers. "Mobility, including wireless, is very important," said Driscoll. "What we see in the macro environment must be continually considered and assessed.  Market penetration of mobile devices and the ability for connectivity everywhere is fueling a growing expectation across all our stakeholders." 

Several CIOs mentioned the growing importance of information analytics to provide the critical data needed by decision-makers in all aspects of the business, including product development, marketing and customer service. "The typical view of the customer service experience has been forever changed by companies like Apple and Amazon," said Casale. "This has raised the bar for all companies — regardless of industry — and thus we are keenly focused on creating capabilities to enhance the overall customer service experience."

The CIOs discussed the challenges they face, their communication strategies, and top priorities. The in-depth comments of the CIOs are published in a special report in the May issue of LOMA's Resource magazine, entitled The Power of Technology.

To read the complete article in Resource magazine, please visit: The Power of Technology.

About LOMA

Established in 1924, with 1,200 plus member companies in over 80 countries, LOMA is committed to a business partnership with its world-wide members in the insurance and financial services industry to improve their management and operations through quality employee development, research, information sharing, and related products and services. To find out more about LOMA and the learning opportunities it offers, visit LOMA's Web site at www.loma.org.