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Diverse Environment Presents Challenges, Opportunities
By Helen Attenborough, CIO, Asia Pacific & Latin America, QBE Insurance
For any global corporation with an expanded geographic footprint through acquisitions, one of the resulting legacies is a diverse business and system environment. QBE Insurance is no exception.
Our challenge as an IT department is to ensure that we are effectively set up to leverage technology and delivery synergies across borders. At the same time, we must ensure we can also effectively meet the specific customer and regulatory needs of each jurisdiction.
As a CIO in the insurance industry, five key areas of focus stand out:
First, is a strong emphasis on service optimization, ensuring that we provide our intermediaries, affinity partners, external customers, and internal staff customers with the right systems that enable them to interact with each other effectively. One of the key elements of customer service enhancement is getting the basics right. We look at IT service performance with a customer outcome lens rather than purely from a traditional IT metrics point of view. Customer considerations are critical.
A second important area of focus for insurers is cyber security.
Our challenge as an IT department is to ensure that we are effectively set up to leverage technology and deliver synergies across borders
Digital enablement and personalized product delivery is a third area of focus where our response to digital disruption has to be both effective and proactive. A number of new technologies, along with the data sources available to us, mean that the digital delivery of personalized product solutions for our customers and partners is not only achievable, but required. This is a fast-moving area, which often means that even before we launch something new we are already working on the next generation solutions.
The fourth area of focus is creating a standardized IT project and platform delivery model across multiple markets. Accomplishing this enables us to produce the desired business outcomes faster and cheaper while also ensuring the quality of the platforms remains uncompromised. We have to work hard to ensure we maintain the right level of control and governance around our delivery model without losing our agility.
As the CIO, the fifth area of focus is process automation and efficiency, something which is again critical in today’s environment and required in order to enable QBE’s Asia Pacific and Latin America divisions to run their operations in a scalable and cost-effective way across geographically dispersed locations. We are working on enhancing our process automation solutions to ensure fully integrated data flow between our platforms and enable efficient straight-through processing across all our high volume processes.
Against this backdrop, the pace of change in the insurance industry and elsewhere continues to accelerate. While advancements abound, it is important to remember that technology is the means to an end rather than end in itself. In the insurance sector at least, the focus needs to continue to be firmly on the customer.