Tammy Craig, Na­tion­wide

Digital Insurance - - CONTENTS - By Nathan Go­lia

The in­sur­ance in­dus­try is con­sol­i­dat­ing at a rapid rate, and Na­tion­wide In­sur­ance is a par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive buyer — its af­fil­i­ated com­pa­nies num­ber in the dozens. As the com­pany has added new di­vi­sions and em­ploy­ees and of­fice lo­ca­tions, Tammy Craig, SVP and CIO of com­mer­cial lines and agency for the mul­ti­line car­rier, has taken on the dif­fi­cult tasks of man­ag­ing teams spread across sev­eral states and time zones, and across lines of busi­ness. Craig’s mul­ti­fac­eted du­ties in­clude man­ag­ing IT for stan­dard com­mer­cial, agri­cul­ture, farm, ex­cess and sur­plus lines, as well as the en­tire agency chan­nel, both per­sonal and com­mer­cial. De­spite ge­o­graph­i­cal chal­lenges, Craig’s team de­liv­ers projects on sched­ule and on bud­get.

“We’ve got­ten to a place where lo­ca­tion and or­ga­ni­za­tional bound­aries don’t re­ally mat­ter,” Craig says. Her ma­jor ac­com­plish­ments il­lus­trate how she is po­si­tion­ing her com­pany for a more dig­i­tal fu­ture by up­dat­ing and con­sol­i­dat­ing a slew of legacy sys­tems, some right down to the lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor level. A project she led called the De­velop Dis­tri­bu­tion Pro­gram has saved the com­pany $600 mil­lion over four years by align­ing the agency chan­nel on a sin­gle set of tech­nol­ogy and pro­cesses.

“We have a ma­jor pro­gram [that aligned] all the com­pen­sa­tion struc­ture and field sales struc­ture to unify in­de­pen­dent and cap­tive sales chan­nels,” she ex­plains. “As agen­cies get big­ger, there’s a lot more dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tion — they have their own tech foot­print.”

Craig is also lead­ing a mul­ti­year,

$400 mil­lion project to mod­ern­ize the com­mer­cial core for Na­tion­wide, us­ing Guidewire soft­ware.

“His­tor­i­cally, Na­tion­wide’s P&C com­pany has been very much per­sonal lines-fo­cused — ta­lent and bud­get have al­ways fol­lowed the per­sonal lines path,” she says. “With our new fo­cus on com­mer­cial and through our com­mer­cial lines trans­for­ma­tion project, we are now re­plac­ing all of the legacy com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions we have with mod­ern com­po­nent-based tech and mov­ing all busi­ness off the legacy plat­forms and onto the new.”

In or­der to keep mo­men­tum up on these projects and achieve her re­mark­able time and bud­get met­rics, Craig is a pro­po­nent of Agile de­vel­op­ment tech­niques. She says that she’s able to stick to those prin­ci­ples thanks to dig­i­tal in­no­va­tions in work­force man­age­ment that are em­ployed across her highly dis­trib­uted project.

“We’ve spent qual­ity time on the team build­ing — we have vis­ual man­age­ment boards, our de­vel­op­ment met­rics are elec­tron­i­cally avail­able so the full team can see them, and we have a lot of video equip­ment,” she ex­plains. “It’s been a lot of fun. A dis­trib­uted team helps you pull in a wider range of ta­lent than a sin­gle lo­ca­tion would.”

DE­VEL­OP­MEN­TAL FO­CUS

Craig has used her po­si­tion to men­tor and sup­port other women in Na­tion­wide’s tech­nol­ogy depart­ment.

She as­sists with the pro­duc­tion of a Women in IT fo­rum for the com­pany, that in­cludes “men­tor­ship and learn­ing cir­cles, how to give and re­ceive feed­back, and spon­sor­ship ac­tiv­i­ties, an­chored in the life­cy­cle man­age­ment of women in IT,” she ex­plains.

“I say that every­one has chal­lenges, but there are cer­tain chal­lenges that are more com­mon for any fe­male in tech,” she says. “A ma­jor­ity of the home life tends to stay with women, which means they re­strict their ca­reer path; there are also some work cul­tural el­e­ments that tend to be more male-bi­ased.”

Hav­ing the right role mod­els is key, Craig ex­plains. She says that

Susan Gueli, Na­tion­wide’s in­fra­struc­ture CIO, and her­self aim to pro­vide an ex­am­ple for other young women.

“Women come into tech but they don’t al­ways stay in tech,” she says. “There’s more we can do to en­cour­age women to re­main.”

Tammy Craig SVP and CIO, Com­mer­cial Lines and Agency, Na­tion­wide In­sur­ance

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