10 lead­ers trans­form­ing in­sur­ance

Digital Insurance - - NEWS - Nathan Go­lia Edi­tor-In-Chief

Just when it seemed like the in­sur­ance in­dus­try couldn't pos­si­bly move any faster, in­surtech is driv­ing a sec­tor-wide trans­for­ma­tion equal to the de­ploy­ment of the first main­frames or the launch of the first in­sur­ance web­site. In­sur­ance com­pa­nies are tran­si­tion­ing from a low-touch prod­uct that is sold through in­ter­me­di­aries to a mul­ti­chan­nel ex­pe­ri­ence that of­fers a wide range of value-added ser­vices.

It takes a unique set of skills to steer an or­ga­ni­za­tion through this level of change. Tech­nol­ogy lead­ers need to un­der­stand the old world of in­sur­ance — specif­i­cally, how the risk-man­age­ment model has worked tra­di­tion­ally. But they also need to un­der­stand the dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment, es­pe­cially the dig­i­tally flu­ent gen­er­a­tions that re­quire new kinds of cov­er­ages as they ma­ture. In­sur­ance was cre­ated in a world that pre­dates to­day's fuzzy per­sonal and pro­fes­sional bound­aries around auto use, for in­stance.

That's what we're rec­og­niz­ing with our Women in In­sur­ance Lead­er­ship pro­gram, now in its 12th year. This year's hon­orees rep­re­sent a wide range of com­pa­nies in terms of writ­ten pre­mium and busi­ness line, but all of them are sin­gu­larly fo­cused on the trans­for­ma­tive im­pact of dig­i­tal.

Their achieve­ments to this end are re­mark­able. When MetLife de­cided to spin off its re­tail life and an­nu­ities busi­ness, Kim Ber­wanger was tasked with build­ing the en­tire IT in­fra­struc­ture for the new com­pany, Bright­house Fi­nan­cial, from scratch. She chose to es­chew the tra­di­tional meth­ods of data man­age­ment — mas­sive and costly data cen­ters — with the rein­vented firm, in fa­vor of a cloud-based, ser­vice-ori­ented struc­ture that prom­ises lower IT main­te­nance costs and eas­ier in­te­gra­tion with new un­der­writ­ing en­gines that lever­age big data, AI and more go­ing for­ward.

CUNA Mu­tual's Susan Sachatello came from the re­tail in­dus­try with a man­date to dig­i­tal­ize a life in­sur­ance prod­uct. She ended up launch­ing a whole new brand.

On the prop­erty and ca­su­alty side, All­state's Ginger Pur­ga­to­rio is stay­ing on top of de­vel­op­ments in con­nected-car tech­nolo­gies to help the in­surer re­fine its us­age-based in­sur­ance pro­gram, Drive­wise. Pur­ga­to­rio has been in­stru­men­tal in in­te­grat­ing mo­bile with the pro­gram, iden­ti­fy­ing ways data can in­form value-added ser­vices and switch­ing the model from one of dis­counts to one based around miles driven.

This en­tire is­sue is ded­i­cated to Women in In­sur­ance Lead­er­ship. In ad­di­tion to our win­ners' pro­files, we look at how women at in­surtech com­pa­nies are suc­ceed­ing by turn­ing their desire to make the in­sur­ance cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter through dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies into re­al­ity. We also catch up with some of our past win­ners, who are con­tin­u­ing to thrive in the new world of in­sur­ance. And we asked women who have worked in in­sur­ance tech­nol­ogy how they sell their peers on the in­dus­try's dig­i­tal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

It's a thrilling time for the in­dus­try, and I'm ex­cited for our read­ers to meet the women who are lead­ing the way into the next it­er­a­tion of in­sur­ance.

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