Throughout her tenure at Liberty Mutual, Mojgan Lefebvre has worked to support the professional development of women in the insurance and technology industries while delivering on innovative projects for a carrier with more than $10 billion in premium revenue.
In her role as SVP and CIO for Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Global Specialty group, Lefebvre continues to transform the organization using cloud technology and agile techniques to meet the changing demands of the company’s customer base. Even in the more nuanced, less commoditized world of commercial insurance, she says external companies are identifying weaknesses in the value chain that can be exploited and replaced by technology.
“There are companies that are purely tech and software companies that are entering the world of insurance, replacing the middle steps and middle layers that are there,” she says. “If we don’t disrupt ourselves, we will be disrupted.”
Becoming a more digitally focused organization means more than simply bolting on solutions, Lefebvre continues. The entire process of how software capabilities are delivered in an insurance company has to be reformed to meet speed to market pressures.
“In the past, IT has been structured very much around areas of expertise, something like the underwriting platform or the claims platform,” she explains. “It has to become much more holistic where we have to be structured around software products that address end-to-end user needs, cutting across different areas and platforms.”
The cloud- and service-based architecture is a major component of that transformation, Lefebvre explains. Liberty uses Amazon Web Services and Azure, among other cloud providers, for several crucial enterprise solutions, leveraging container technologies like Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Docker to enable continuous integration and deployment.
“Our newer solutions are built on a modern technology stack. We build microservices that can be called upon by different application areas and are reusable,” she says. “Now developers can apply greater focus on end user needs because cloud and containerization simplify the infrastructure layer.”
The modern architecture has made it possible for Liberty’s specialty organization to begin incorporating technologies like robotic process automation in underwriting as a first step toward more advanced AI down the road.
Digital’s Diverse Lessons
There is a clear line between Lefebvre’s technology innovations and her focus on gender collaboration within the company. Women are making as many insurance buying decisions as men, she notes, but when products and services are designed by only men, women’s viewpoints sometimes get missed.
“Some technology solutions have faltered because things are being designed by men only,” she points out, “and companies are realizing that if you don’t have women in the creation stage, you are missing a large segment of your end users.”
Working to mitigate these unconscious biases has been a major part of Lefebvre’s advocacy over her career, which started in health care before she moved into insurance. She says the hiring of chief diversity and inclusion officer Dawn Frazier-Bohnert in 2013 was crucial in creating a strong commitment to gender collaboration programs, among other diversity programs, across the company.
“Recognizing the value in having a consistent platform and language to communicate the D&I mission and business case to employees, Dawn developed a broader definition of diversity,” Lefebvre says. “Diversity is not only about race, gender, sexual orientation or perspective — diversity is about ‘all of us.’ This idea is woven into D&I’s mission and vision statements, and is an integral part of everything we do.”
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