As information businesses dependent on IT, most insurers have elevated the role of the CIO to that of a core strategic executive. The CIO's cross-functional perspective allows him or her to bring a uniquely valuable enterprise-level view to planning discussions with other senior business executives. Most insurers also rely heavily on the CIO to maintain an external perspective as well, and keep the other business leaders informed of potential changes in the broader IT landscape, from the consumerization of IT to the growth of big data.

At a recent Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council meeting, a group of more than 50 insurer CIOs discussed steps they're taking to improve delivery and help drive the innovation and change that their peer execs increasingly expect from them.

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