After looking at a list of the 25 Top Information Managers, one can dispel the perception that the insurance industry is behind other industries when it comes to technology.

Information Management magazine, a source of news, commentary and feature content serving the IT and business community, asked its staff, contributors and trusted experts in the field to share who they thought were among today's best information managers and people to watch in 2010. The nominations ran the gamut from CIOs to architects to program managers to specialists, and their work crossed many domains of the information management field. The editors vetted submissions, cut it to 38 finalists and interviewed each person who appears on the final list of 25. The editors found every one to be a savvy leader and game-changer in their organization—truly among the best information managers working today. And four of those game-changers were from insurance companies.

 

Ursuline Foley, CIO, XL Reinsurance

 

With acquisition and growth, Foley took XL Reinsurance executive management's lead to a strategy that would realign the reinsurance business from 11 systems to a single global system. She and her team are credited with executing a five-year plan in a true business partnership that came in on schedule and within budget in late 2009. Foley calls it more of a business than IT transformation and has found many new points of leverage.

"The businesspeople in Bermuda didn't know their colleagues in London or France," she said. "We now have governance across claims, cash management, finance, administration etc., and all these businesspeople are talking and telling us where to take the system next."

Foley also serves on INN’s Board of Advisers, and was named one of INN’s Women in Insurance Leadership in 2007.

 

Sravan Kasarla, group enterprise architect, MassMutual

 

Kasarla was nominated to our list by a top analyst as someone who truly "gets" MDM and data quality. For Kasarla, MDM is neither a technical project nor a customer data hub.

"MDM is now positioned to enable the customer servicing strategy and customer centricity at MassMutual, he told Information Management. "And it's only a part of the overall information management plan for the company."

Though the usual tools of data governance, integration, quality, BI and metadata management are at hand, the business shift is under way from policy to customer focus.

 

Felix Orzechowski, information management reporting department manager for IT division, Erie Insurance Group

 

Chosen for his execution in governance and data quality at Erie, Orzechowski helped establish a three-pronged approach for data quality assessment, data governance and consistent BI and reporting processes.

"The goal of the governance work is to have huge high-level measurements that drive our process work. In customer certification, for example, we're only 87% confident of how many customers versus policyholders we have and there's a ton of business we could be pursuing," he said. "We're kicking off projects to fix six or seven entry points, shut down the 'blob' entry and the old screens that allow that."

 

David Vasquez, associate VP application owner, Nationwide

 

Following Nationwide's acquisition of Allied Insurance, Vasquez took a major role in integrating the companies' auto policy data in a hybrid model that could report across some 800 attributes and 100 metrics of product performance. Pricing and product departments use the reporting to track retention, minimize customer churn from rate increases and cross-sell across rate decreases.

"We are seeing about a 0.1% increase in our retention in the places we've rolled this out to, an estimated $14 million savings across various projects and states," Vasquez says.

 

Click here to see all of Information Management's 25 Top Information Managers: 2010.

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