SAFECO NAMES WILLIAM JENKS AS CIOSeattle-based Safeco Corp. has named William Jenks chief information officer. Jenks most recently served as executive vice president and chief information officer of worldwide operations at Publicis Groupe, one of the world's largest advertising and media companies. At Publicis, Jenks led the consolidation of separate technology platforms following a major corporate acquisition. He also realigned the company's technical resources to support top-line business objectives and improve the efficiency of its global workforce. Before joining Publicis, Jenks was chief information officer at Space Systems/Loral, Heller Financial, Inc., and at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. "Bill has an outstanding track record of leading transformational change with regard to technology infrastructure," says Paula Rosput Reynolds, Safeco president and chief executive officer. "His experience working in time-critical, high-transaction environments, combined with his proven hands-on leadership, will help us achieve our stated goals of becoming a low-cost and logistically outstanding carrier." Jenks replaces Yom Senegor who has announced his resignation from Safeco. Senegor joined Safeco in 2001 from Accenture where he led the insurance practice area.


The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, Conn., has named Mark Esposito as chief information officer for its individual life division. Esposito, who is also vice president and director of business technology, will lead the division's project management office and technology initiatives. He will be a member of the senior planning group, which helps Executive Vice President Michael Kalen, director of individual life, set direction for the division. "The pace of technological change-and its impact on how life insurers do business-will continue to accelerate in the future," he says. "With Mark's help, The Hartford will keep its foot on the technology accelerator and, ultimately, stay out in front of the competition." Esposito joins The Hartford after spending more than 20 years with Phoenix Life; most recently as vice president, information technology of the insurer's individual life and annuity business.


The board of directors of Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif., is exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a potential sale of the company. The company has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its financial adviser in this process. CSC cautions that there can be no assurance the exploration of strategic alternatives will result in a transaction, and the company does not intend to disclose developments regarding its exploration unless and until the board approves a specific transaction. CSC is also implementing a restructuring program, which is expected to significantly improve future cash flow and earnings.

The restructuring involves workforce reductions of approximately 4,300 employees during fiscal 2007, which began April 1, 2006, and approximately 700 employees in fiscal 2008. A majority of these reductions will occur in Europe, but plans will vary by country based on local legal requirements and consultation with works councils and employee representatives.


The Progressive Group of Insurance Cos. has opened its first permanent catastrophe response center in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, which, according to the company, will even better position it to provide its 24/7 claims service. Progressive's permanent national catastrophe response team (NCRT) is made up of an "inside" operations team and an "outside" field response team, both consisting of full-time claims representatives from throughout the United States who either serve in this capacity on a regular basis or have signed up for "CAT duty." Based on the forecasted number and types of claims resulting from a particular weather-related event, the appropriate number of reps are deployed to a storm-stricken area or to the new CAT Response Center. The Response Center can accommodate up to 400 reps.


The special investigative unit (SIU) of Andover, Mass.-based CGI Group Inc. (CGI) completed a probe it was conducting for the Clarendon National Insurance Co. that resulted in the arrest of four California residents. Six felony charges were lodged in connection with a fraudulent auto theft claim that was filed with Clarendon.


The widely accepted forecast of more frequent and severe hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico for the next decade is increasing the importance that insurers, reinsurers, corporations and government entities are placing on catastrophic risk models, according to Rick Clinton, president, EQECAT, Inc., Oakland, Calif. Clinton disputes comments that risk models in general are neither sophisticated nor accurate enough. EQECAT is upgrading its hurricane modeling capabilities, and the company is nearing completion of plans for the release of other optimized modeling capabilities designed to deal with several perils, including flood and earthquakes, as well as to measure the impact of perils on the offshore energy industry.

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