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The CIO as the ultimate insider

Divina Paredes | Dec. 18, 2012
Kevin Angland, CIO of IAG New Zealand, has the distinctive experience of working across most areas of the insurance industry.

He has come to grips with one of the realities of the role -- managing constant technology changes. "That is just life in the IT world -- that technology change is so rapid it becomes second nature."

Angland says a technology decision is very much a business driven strategy, and he is cognisant customers are asking for more options. "For IAG as an insurer it is not one or the other," he says. "If a customer starts a conversation over the phone, and decides to do something online, we have to deliver all of those and do it seamlessly."

And if this customer walks into one of their retail sites, they should be able to connect all of those interactions irrespective of the channels, he says. "This customer should not feel that this is the third time they are giving the information."

"A lot of the foundation work we are doing now will be about rationalising and consolidating the backend IT platform to make it much easier to deliver that online service offering. There will be elements of it that we will deliver within the year and will continue to build on top of that.

"It will be a phased approach. Where we have already identified distinct things customers interact with us about would be quite easy to do online, that is phase one. Put some of those high volume low value touch points online. And give customers a choice of saying now there is another option for you to do this."

"A lot of work needs to be done to turn what is codified data in the backend system" into something that is simple and easy for customers to understand and serve it on the web. "We have got to be 100 percent certain when the time comes to deliver or provide service online."

This observation resonates with his CIO colleagues as more customers engage across various channels. "If you were starting today knowing about the world of the internet and where mobile technology is going, you would design things differently," he says.

"We have got systems that are 20 years old that were designed based on people's frame of reference at that time. A lot of what we are doing now is building that surface layer between those back end systems so we can serve up business processes to customers online."

Critical data

Data is a critical part of their success. "Given the changing nature of the New Zealand insurance market as a result of the earthquake data, and access to data has a great role to play," he says, both for IAG and their customers.

For the latter, it is about making it easy for customers to access publicly available data, from Statistics New Zealand for example, and information on buildings. He says while this information helps them internally in understanding risk and pricing products, it will also educate customers around the cover that is available and make it easier for them to write the information they need when they insure their properties.


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