The Hanover CIO Berthiaume says carrier investing heavily in digital tech

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Mark Berthiaume is a EVP, CIO and chief innovation technology officer at The Hanover Insurance Group. Mark joined The Hanover in 2014 as chief administration officer responsible for technology and shared services. He was promoted in 2017 and assumed additional innovation and digital duties to provide technology solutions for Hanover’s partners and customers. Mark has more than 30 years’ experience in the insurance and technology industries, including senior leadership and divisional CIO positions at Chubb. He was interviewed for the Novarica Update in 2018. [This article has been reprinted with permission from Novarica.]

What are your top priorities for the next 6-12 months?

Berthiaume: Our priority is always to be a premier property and casualty insurance provider for the independent agency channel. So, all of our technology initiatives are wrapped around how we can help our agents serve their customers better and grow their businesses.

One of our biggest priorities is small commercial, and we’re doing a core systems project leveraging the platform that we’ve been using in other parts of our business.

The Hanover is also investing heavily in digital across the enterprise. We recently spun up an innovation group, bringing business and IT innovation together. I’m leading that group, and we’re doing a lot with digital agents and piloting distribution-focused innovation with different partners. Across all our innovation programs, we’re aiming for minimum viable products and taking a test-and-learn approach.

We’re starting with digital marketing, we’re implementing a SaaS-based digital marketing platform that’s integrated with our platform across the entire customer journey.

How do you see emerging technology and insurtech affecting your strategy in the short and medium term?

Berthiaume: Let’s talk about what “emerging tech” means: If you consider RPA emerging, The Hanover is doing a lot there. In my mind, RPA is game-changing and we’re doing quite a bit with it. I think we’re ahead of most other companies that I talk to when it comes to RPA. We’ve done a lot of work on the technology side and are now working toward maturing our operating model to compliment the technology.

In telematics, we conducted a pilot with a phone-app integrating driving behavior analysis into our personal lines. It tracks driving conditions and behaviors, and provides a dashboard back to the policyholder. I think telematics will have a real impact in the next few years.

We’re part of the Riskblock blockchain consortium through The Institutes, and we’re partnered with the University of Connecticut working on some use cases. There’s lots of potential there, for example with things like bordereau in commercial lines.

Ultimately, it’s an exciting time for the insurance industry and The Hanover is really trying to think strategically about the emerging technology that will ultimately help drive more business for our agents.

What are some of the differences you see in how leaders of other business units are thinking about technology these days?

Berthiaume: Our business leaders are very much in tune to emerging technologies and building breakthrough programs that help our agent partners. I have business unit leaders approaching me to partner on new technologies. Business leaders have a lot more direct exposure to technology than they used to, and they’re interested in moving forward quickly.

One of the benefits of insurtech is that they’re doing a great job of communicating the value of technology in insurance. I’m doing far less translation than I used to.

CEOs and heads of business units realize that they’re not going to be able to compete without some of these technology-enabled capabilities, especially in digital, data, and analytics.

How have you and your team leveraged the relationship with Novarica?

Berthiaume: I pick up the phone regularly to connect with Novarica. We use Novarica to benchmark against where our peers are at using both aggregated public data and anonymized survey data to get a sense of how we stand. We also use Novarica to help understand the maturity of emerging technologies, their impact on the property/casualty industry, and how we should be prioritizing our investment and attention.

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