Glatfelter CIO Tosch on preparing to integrate with AIG

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Larissa Tosch is VP and CIO at Glatfelter Insurance Group. She began her career at Glatfelter as a developer, led technical teams, spent a year on the business side, and formed the company’s Project Management Office (PMO). She was named one of the Top 10 Women in Insurance Leadership by Digital Insurance in 2017. She was interviewed by analyst firm Novarica, who granted permission to reprint this interview here.

What are your top priorities for the next six to 12 months?
Obviously, integration with our new parent AIG. We’d written all our business before through a different carrier, so there’s a lot of new filing that has to happen to move that over, and a lot of systems work to support that.

We’re also replacing our image-based workflow management system and putting in more business process automation. We’re processing incoming applications using OCR, automating clearance, integrating with third-party data services, and using underwriting rules for triaged straight-through processing.

It’s really more than a systems replacement, we redesigned the process based on the new capabilities. Over the past few years, we’ve invested in mutual education between business and technology. Our technologists want to understand more about the business, and our business users have become much more interested in the possibilities of what IT can do to assist/enable in the business process.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the past couple of years?
There’s been constant change. We implemented a new claims system and a new PAS. We’re just sunsetting our last AS/400 environment. We rolled out new broker tools through our producer portal. There’s been a big impact on business process efficiency, ease of doing business, and speed to market.

What do you see as some of the biggest challenges ahead?
It’s not unique to insurance or technology, but there’s just a general talent shortage. On top of that, the insurance industry doesn’t have as strong a reputation among young job seekers as some others, and I think it’s going to create a real challenge for the industry. IT can help mitigate the impact of that by capturing the business knowledge of the current workforce to enable them and new workers to be more productive. In terms of IT talent, insurers need to make sure technical talent is invested in the industry. You can’t outsource the strong business relationships that enable IT to deliver the right capabilities.

How do you see emerging technology affecting tech strategy in your business segments?
Our business unit is much more interested in new technology. In a way, consumer technology has accustomed them to frequent change. That adaptability translates to a greater openness to changing business systems, which is necessary to consider new technology approaches like automation.We focus on rightsizing where emerging tech fits in our organization. It’s important that it align to our corporate culture and strategic goals. We don’t chase cool tech, but we’re continuing to monitor insurtech and keep an eye on what’s right for us.

How have you and your team leveraged your Novarica relationship over the years?
We rely on the research and the team in a number of ways. The Novarica Market Navigators are great tools for staying on top of the vendor market, and the budget benchmarks reports are extremely helpful for me to show our leadership that we’re in alignment with the industry. We also use the advisor team for ad hoc consultations and workshops to review strategic priorities and brainstorm. Sometimes it reinforces what we’re already thinking, sometimes it challenges us with new ideas and perspectives. Both are useful.

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