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How Insurance CIOs Can
Remake Themselves to Lead Digital
Transformation
To become digital leaders, insurance CIOs need to adopt
new workstyles and mindsets, including collaborative
partnerships and an eye for innovation, our recent
research shows.
2 KEEP CHALLENG ING September 2016
Executive Summary
As they stand at the digital crossroads, property and casualty (P&C) insur-
ers know they must change the very nature of their identity, shifting from
“compensators of adversity” to “virtual guards” that ensure the well-being of
their customers. To attract and retain digitally empowered consumers, and the
rising millennial generation, it’s not enough to just do the same things better
or more inexpensively. P&C insurers must imagine entirely new ways of doing
business: Delivering micro-policies at the moment of need based on the cus-
tomer’s immediate situation; influencing customers to change their behavior
in order to reduce their risk profile; proactively coordinating assistance when
an accident occurs; using intelligent algorithms that write claims summary
reports, freeing adjusters to handle more complex and nuanced tasks.
To successfully navigate the digital age, insurers need to rethink their ser-
vices, processes and business model to harness the power of game-changing
technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent automation and
telematics, as well as social, mobile, analytics and the cloud (the SMAC Stack).
However, according to our recent research, many insurers continue to view
technology merely as a way to drive down costs and increase the productiv-
ity of internal processes. While industry CIOs are focusing on the right set of
technologies to enable digital transformation, real business outcomes can be
achieved only by exchanging traditional approaches to being a CIO — internally
focused, service-minded — for new work styles that embrace C-level collabora-
tion, a strategic orientation, an eye for innovation and more.
In late 2015, we conducted research to better understand where P&C insurers
are in their digital transformation, the strategic role CIOs are playing, and the
skills and capabilities they need to adopt to succeed in the digital age (see
Methodology, page 16). We believe insurance CIOs are well poised to drive the
digital agenda; however, many have a lot of work to do to expand their skill sets
to function as digital leaders.
Among the key findings revealed by our research:
•	 The vast majority (90%) of insurance CIOs believe they should play a key
role in digital transformation. However, less than one-third (27%) are cur-
rently taking a leadership role — lower than the industry average (34%),
slightly above healthcare (25%) and much lower than in banking (45%) or
life sciences (40%).1
The focus on cost continues to pervade the insurance
mindset, as CFOs were more likely to lead digital transformation initiatives
at insurers than other industries.
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 3
•	 To be seen as a digital leader, insurance CIOs need to become more stra-
tegically minded. Compared with other industries, respondents were less
apt to see themselves as digital strategists and transformational leaders.
However, more than three-quarters (78%) believe they need to complete
the transition from an “improver” role to “influencer” and “transformer.”
•	 Key to doing this is improving their partnerships and collaboration capa-
bilities, both inside and outside the organization. CIOs can help businesses
achieve real outcomes with digital only when they collaborate with the
entire CXO team to create a digital roadmap that leverages technology
investments and delivery capabilities.
•	 Insurance CIOs also need to embrace and enable digital innovation, as well
as communicate new ideas about digital ways to work. This is a particular
challenge, as insurance CIOs do not yet see themselves as innovators, per-
haps in response to working in a low-growth industry that depends heavily
on “keeping the lights on.”
•	 Analytics capabilities are another area of development, with nearly half
(49%) of respondents naming analytical insights as a key obstacle to
enabling digital transformation. We believe CIOs are well positioned to
help their organizations layer “systems of intelligence” on existing legacy
systems.
•	 An essential new role for insurance CIOs is that of the “chief talent offi-
cer.” Particularly in an industry not known for attracting digitally-oriented
staff, attracting and retaining top-notch talent is the most important new
role for insurance CIOs, according to 84% of respondents. CIOs need to
take the initiative to find creative ways to fill the skills gaps created by the
digital economy, rather than waiting for human resources to take care of it.
While the list might seem daunting for many insurance CIOs, accustomed to
a conservative, cautious environment, the change will be worth it. As one
respondent said, “The digital disruption that has transformed sector after
sector, from publishing to travel, has come to insurance. Even consumers
today want a digital-savvy environment.”
The future of insurance, he said, can be seen in the efforts of a few forward-
thinking players that have experimented with different business models for
niche markets, as well as insurance market leaders that have used digital to
“spread their wings” and grow more quickly than they otherwise would.
4 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
From ‘Doing’ to ‘Being’ Digital
In our study, respondents are prioritizing the right digital technology and delivery
capabilities to enable digital transformation (see Figure 1).  However, “being digital”
goes beyond developing a few mobile apps, launching a Web portal or moving a
system or application to the cloud. It requires making digital a core element of how
the company operates and seamlessly blending physical and digital components to
deliver new value to key stakeholders, whether they are policy holders or business
partners. (For more on “being digital,” see our Cognizanti article “Making Digital
Real and Rewarding.”)
Top digital opportunities named by respondents
were geared toward not just driving efficiency, but
also reimagining customer experiences, reshaping
how work gets done and even rewiring business
models (see Figure 2, next page). We see the highest
interest in the following areas:
•	 Usage-based insurance: Nearly one-third of
respondents named UBI as the top area for digital
ROI, and no wonder: Insurers have discovered that
when policy pricing is tied to human behavior, they
can improve their loss ratios. The most prevalent
47%
45%
43%
39%
25%
Cloud
Technology
Internet
of Things
Mobile
Technology
Social Media
Technology
Customer
Relationship
Management
Top 5 Insurance Technology
Investment Priorities
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs;
multiple responses allowed
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 1
Nearly one-third of respondents
named UBI as the top area
for digital ROI, and no wonder:
Insurers have discovered that
when policy pricing is tied to
human behavior, they can improve
their loss ratios.
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 5
example is the auto insurance industry’s “pay how you drive” offerings, which
align driving behavior (captured through in-vehicle telematics devices and
smartphone apps) with premium rates. These technologies can also deliver
real-time feedback in order to promote safe driving practices and prevent losses.
Closely related is the use of emerging technologies such as telematics, wearables,
connected devices and the IoT to build a smart ecosystem that monitors events
and behavior in real-time. By correlating this data with internal and external data
sources, insurers can establish an automated closed-loop feedback mechanism
to prevent, mitigate and predict future losses. They could also suggest loss
control measures that customers could adopt to gain premium advantage, or
create a tailored risk profile for each customer and better match the premium
offered with the risk characteristics presented.
Insurers are applying this approach to home insurance, using IoT, WiFi and
high-definition video technologies to alert customers to possible break-ins and
offering premium savings and deductible refunds to participating customers.
Examples include American Family Insurance’s partnership with Ring (maker of
the Ring Video Doorbell)2
and Liberty Mutual Insurance’s agreement with home
automation company Vivint Partners, which offers services such as intelligent
security, electronic door locks, video surveillance, and lighting and appliance
control.3
Top 3 Digital Initiatives with High ROI
Percent of respondents who ranked the initiative a 1 on a scale of 1-5, with “1” signifying highest ROI.
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 2
27% Usage-based
Insurance
25% Omnichannel experience
across devices
22%
Robo-advisors
6 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
•	 Omnichannel experience: With the majority of insurance CIOs (60%) agreeing
that the customer experience is largely shaped by digital technology, it’s also not
surprising that omnichannel customer experience is another top area for digital
return on investment. Forward-thinkers are implementing interactive capabili-
ties via customer portals and mobile apps, enabling customers to interact with
providers, compare offerings and take greater control of their policies and claims.
One survey respondent, for example, said his business is working on providing
platforms and online forums to enable customers to devise tailored solutions and
use social media to voice their opinions and feedback.
We partnered with the CIO’s team at a large North American insurer to design a
holistic solution that would work across the customer portal and mobile devices,
using industry-standard design patterns and reusable components. The insurer
wanted to deliver an enhanced customer experience and self-service capabilities
while increasing sales.
We designed a comprehensive omnichannel solution based on journey maps
that helped the insurer prioritize business needs. An Agile approach led to quick
releases that enabled adoption to be tempered and collaborative. The solution
has been rated one of the best mobile applications in the industry, as it signifi-
cantly improved the customer experience by addressing key pain points.
•	 Robo-advisors: A third area of high ROI is robo-advisors. Using technologies
such as natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and virtual
assistants, insurers can embrace innovative ways of transforming the customer
experience. USAA, for example, partnered with Nuance Communications to add
the company’s virtual assistant (Nina) to its mobile customer service apps to
deliver engaging self-service platforms for customers to transact, navigate, ask
questions and customize their experience.4
Insurers are also using artificial intel-
ligence-based technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce
repetitive tasks and free agents to undertake more complex work that requires
human elements, such as creativity, empathy and complex decision-making. (For
more on this topic, see our white paper “How Insurers Can Harness Artificial
Intelligence.”)
Defining a New Role for the Insurance CIO
Despite their industry’s cautious approach to overall business transformation,
insurance CIOs envision themselves as crucial to enterprise digital initiatives,
according to our study. Nearly all respondents (90%) said an essential element of
enabling digital transformation was the CIO playing a key role in making digital
decisions.
The emerging face of the insurance CIO is that of a digital strategist and transforma-
tional leader, according to three-quarters of respondents, while also working at the
execution level as a functional leader: managing process change, evaluating and
The emerging face of the insurance CIO is that of a digital
strategist and transformational leader, according to
three-quarters of respondents, while also working at the
execution level as a functional leader: managing process
change, evaluating and deploying new digital technologies,
and ensuring effective implementation.
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 7
Understanding CIO Leadership Competencies
We advise CIOs to focus on
only a handful of high-impact
initiatives at a time and develop
a compelling story around what
these could accomplish. By doing
so, they can both see digital in a
more tangible and concrete way
themselves, as well as repeat the
story to others.
Developing new
go-to-market
strategies and
technologies
Studying market
trends/customer
needs to identify
digital opportunities
Developing and
contributing to
the enterprise
digital strategy
Managing IT
process change
Encouraging
CIO teams/staff
to effectively
implement digital
initiative
Actively managing
complex
organizational
environments
Finding,
evaluating,
deploying
new digital
technologies
Industry average
Insurance average
Leading
enterprise-wide
digital initiatives
Cultivating the
CIO/CMO
partnership
Aligning digital
initiatives
with business
goals
Articulating the
vision of enterprise
digital strategy and
mobilizing the
commitment to excel
DIGITAL STRATEGIST FUNCTIONAL LEADER
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER
78%
59%
77%
53%
79%
67%
77%
61%
84%
78%
77%
57%
85%
78%
81%
76%
77%
67%
77%
71%
82%
71%
deploying new digital technologies, and ensuring
effective implementation. At the same time,
insurance CIOs were less adamant than respon-
dents in other industries about whether these
were relevant competencies (see Figure 3).
To be accepted as a strategist and transformational
leader requires new skills that are likely unfamiliar
and yet achievable for many insurance CIOs. First,
they need to broaden their perspective on what
digital is and put it at the center of how they think
about delivering solutions and enabling the best
customer experience. This requires developing a
sense of curiosity about how digital can be applied
to the insurance business and the new forms of
value it can enable.
Once CIOs themselves adopt this vision, their job is
to share it, helping business leaders open their minds to the art of what’s possible.
They need to be able to communicate that vision and explain what can be done to
enable it. We advise CIOs to focus on only a handful of high-impact initiatives at a
time and develop a compelling story around what these could accomplish. By doing
so, they can both see digital in a more tangible and concrete way themselves, as
well as repeat the story to others.
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 3
8 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
Once the three or four initiatives are well under way, CIOs can move onto the
next set of initiatives, again focusing on just a handful of important programs and
creating a story around each. In this way, the CIO can influence and inspire change
vs. just pushing technology solutions without people knowing what challenge or
problem is being addressed. Keeping initiatives well-scoped is key; if projects take
18 months to deliver, the entire landscape could shift in that timeframe.
Being a storyteller is not an inherent trait for everyone, but it can be learned. Books
and workshops exist to develop story-telling and design thinking skills to activate
right-brain, creative and empathetic thinking.1
Key Skills for the Insurance CIO
In addition, CIOs can ensure their place at the helm of digital transformation by
adopting the following workstyles and skill sets.
Key Skill 1: A Partnership-Driven, Collaborative Approach
Because digital initiatives are strategic in nature, CIOs need to go beyond identi-
fying digital technologies and become integral in ensuring that hoped-for digital
business outcomes are realized. This means partnering with the CXO team to create
a digital roadmap that leverages technology investments and delivery capabilities.
Governance & regulatory compliance
framework
Legacy IT systems
DIGITALSTRATEGY
41%
37%
20%
57%
44%
Competing business priorities
Budgetary constraints
Lack of support from senior management
Challenges Faced by CIO in Developing Digital Strategy
Percent of respondents who ranked the challenge a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1-5,
with “1” signifying biggest challenge.
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 4
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 9
Further, because digital initiatives encompass all parts of the organization, digital
CIOs also need to develop solid working relationships beyond the C-suite. Over
three-quarters (78%) of respondents acknowledged that a new responsibility as
a digital CIO would revolve around spending more time on cross-functional col-
laboration. Not only do they need to listen for what the biggest challenges are
from various business functions, but they also need to communicate how digital
can solve those issues in a meaningful way.
CIOs have the opportunity to play a facilitative leadership role by enabling col-
laboration across cross-functional teams, and by ensuring that the digital strategy
is informed by opportunities derived from studying market trends and customer
needs.
It’s here that insurance CIOs have some
work to do. When asked to rate the most
important relationships with internal
stakeholders, respondents named “the
CIO team” as the top relationship (92%),
higher than the CEO (86%), chief
marketing officer (74%), chief operating
officer (67%) or chief financial officer
(47%). To fully benefit from digital
opportunity, we believe CIOs must
transition away from a “service-ori-
ented” role, to working alongside their
fellow C-suiters, in a partnership position. Considering that top barriers to digital
transformation are budgetary constraints and lack of senior management support
(see Figure 4, previous page), CIOs would do well to increase their collaborative
relationship with C-level execs.
Because of the importance of digital strategies in reshaping the customer
experience, we advise insurance CIOs to start with the CIO/CMO relationship and
grow from there. They can start by doing the following:
•	 Focus on the customer experience: As CIOs and CMOs look for alignment on
strategic direction, customer experience proves to be a powerful unifying goal.
Once a shared vision is established, the CIO and CMO can develop a journey
map, with the CIO focusing on the tech layer, and the CMO team on building
the service layer. This shared focus also keeps attention on the entire digital
ecosystem, rather than obsessing over particular channels and tactics.
•	 Identify customer-centered KPIs: Building on a shared commitment to
enhanced customer experience, CIOs and CMOs can work together on creating a
common set of customer-centered key performance indicators (KPI), with each
respective stakeholder being held responsible for specific goals and outcomes.
These metrics need to focus on a new set of experienced-based metrics, focused
on service, satisfaction and outcomes rather than internal efficiency.
•	 Harness collaborative innovation: Shared innovation workshops can be
another powerful bridge between CIOs and CMOs as they spend time shaping
a shared roadmap for overall corporate success. Properly framed, and backed
with high-level sponsorship and follow-up, these working sessions can lay the
foundation for significant digital transformation across the enterprise and raise
the bar for customer experience across multiple touchpoints.
In addition to internal collaboration, insurance CIOs also need to forge new relation-
ships and partnerships with external constituents (see Quick Take, next page).
To fully benefit from digital
opportunity, we believe CIOs must
transition away from a “service-
oriented” role, to working alongside
their fellow C-suiters, in a partnership
position.
10 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
When asked about digital disruption, a top
factor CIOs named as a barrier is “rapid
innovation capabilities” (45%). With the fast
pace of change that digital entails, the only
feasible answer to this challenge is to develop
a range of new relationships outside the orga-
nization.
The digital economy, in fact, is defined by
collaboration with startups, niche vendors,
industry experts and others within or outside
the industry, often using open application
programming interfaces (APIs) and platforms
for bolt-on innovation. It has become nothing short
of a digital CIO imperative to plug and play in industry
ecosystems — even ones that extend beyond insurance —
to enable more contextual and relevant services.
Examples include:
•	 “Underwriters” that team with data scientists to
leverage new and broader sets of data from both within
and outside the company.
•	 “Innovation advocates” who develop a “fail fast” envi-
ronment for new digital ideas.
•	 “Collaborative cross-industry partnerships” that
emerge as insurers join auto dealers or property listing
sites that offer customers better outcomes.
•	 “Talent development and reskillling” experts that use
short bursts of learning content, delivered online, via
virtual or mobile channels.
CIOs will also need to develop strong relationships with
an array of cloud hosting providers to continuously com-
municate the needs of the business beyond the initial
conversation, particularly when it comes to security and
data privacy. With hybrid cloud/on-site IT infrastructures,
the role of “chief integration officer” will become increas-
ingly important.
Further, CIOs will need to forge relationships with
innovators and technology partners in the broader
ecosystem. For example, John Hancock launched its Lab
of Forward Thinking, which hosts employee hackathons
and partners with local startups and universities. Some
of the technologies being explored include augmented
reality, blockchain technologies, cognitive computing,
machine learning and predictive analytics.6
Additionally,
AXA has established a digital innovation sourcing
unit that works on digital sourcing, detecting the latest
trends and connecting startups and major high-tech
players (like Facebook or Linkedin) with AXA, fostering a
digital culture and initiating proofs of concept.7
In the digital age, insurers are now competing with the
best and brightest in the technology world. To keep up
with the near constant demand for innovation, they
simply cannot “go it alone.” A key role for CIOs will be to
identify partners and forge relationships that bring the
enterprise into the digital age.
Quick Take
The Changing Partnership Ecosystem
It has become nothing short of
a digital CIO imperative to plug
and play in industry ecosystems
— even ones that extend beyond
insurance — to enable more
contextual and relevant services.
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 11
Key Skill 2: An Eye for Innovation
Only 57% of insurance CIOs named innovation as a critical competency for being a
digital CIO, which is low compared with the industry average of 75%. CIOs who want
to lead digital transformation need to move beyond a mindset of “keeping the lights
on” and begin actively noticing the changes in their industry and the world around
them, particularly when it comes to what customers want and need, and how that
might change over time. CIOs need to develop a sensitivity for human behavior and
desires, and prepare an adaptable technology ecosystem that can respond.
Key to doing this is thinking beyond industry “givens,” and developing a fresh
perspective by exploring how other industries — such as retail, financial services
and media/entertainment — approach digital opportunities and roadblocks. By
meeting with professionals from other walks of life, and even bringing them into
their inner circle, CIOs can develop a new way of thinking about the entrenched
issues endemic to delivering digital solutions within the constraints of a highly
regulated environment.
CIOs should also keep current with
consumer use of technology so
they can anticipate what the “ask”
is behind a user request and think
innovatively about the response.
By identifying a reference point,
CIOs can build on a common language
to contextualize requests, which
can help them begin thinking more
innovatively.
An example is the IT function at MetLife, which has worked to transition from
order takers to experimentors, risk-takers and flexible providers of new technology.
The CIO has worked to instill a startup culture within the 145-year-old enterprise
by developing a new funding structure and project success metrics, attracting
the right talent and helping employees see themselves as entrepreneurs inside the
enterprise.
When the CIO and his team recently brainstormed ideas to obtain a 360-degree
view of customers for the call center, they arrived at an idea now known as The Wall:
a new call center platform that looks, acts and feels like Facebook on the front end
and incorporates a MongoDB NoSQL database on the back end, which is capable
of integrating data from 70 different sources. The pilot — completed in two weeks —
was well received and sealed IT’s reputation for innovation.8
Key Skill 3: Analytics
The exponential increase of information, generated by smartphones, social
networking, search and the IoT, has created a snowball effect when it comes to
the data that enterprises generate, collect and store. No wonder that the need to
develop analytical insights and maintain quality data were named as top obstacles
for digital transformation (see Figure 5, next page).
Analytics can deliver value throughout the insurance value chain, including:
•	 Risk assessment and price optimization: Adds precision to actuarial work,
leading to more accurate pricing and streamlining approval processes.
•	 Marketing strategies and customer experience: Improves decision-making,
leading to more effective marketing strategies, which results in the ability to
influence customer behavior.
CIOs should also keep current with
consumer use of technology so
they can anticipate what the “ask”
is behind a user request and think
innovatively about the response.
12 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
For example, we worked with a global insurance carrier to harness its huge volumes
of information to identify and focus on the right customers, while reducing customer
attrition. The company also wanted to effectively use its rich customer data to
perform effective customer segmentation, maximize revenue opportunities and
expand customer product penetration levels.
We helped the insurer develop customer value analytics for its Japan operations,
covering over 23 million customers and 45 million prospects, and encompassing 13
million polices and over nine million claims.
The team identified opportunities with the potential to yield over 4.4B yen in annual
net premiums for the insurer, including the potential to retain, grow and protect
the customer /prospect base. The project also led to identifying opportunities that
could optimize operational efforts to create savings while serving these customers.
We believe CIOs have a unique appreciation for the volume and granularity of
insurance data and that they can parlay this knowledge into developing strong data
analysis capabilities within their organization. These analytics skills can become a
core service that IT provides to other areas of the business and even monetizes as
a commercial service for other insurance organizations.
New systems of customer engagement typically must draw on data stored in legacy
systems of record. To ensure engagement systems offer these insights and choices,
organizations need to develop a “systems of intelligence” layer. Systems of intelli-
gence will power engagement interfaces with data and analysis drawn from systems
Rapid Innovation
Capabilities
This is our:
Primary Challenge
Secondary Challenge
Quality Data
22%
16%
20%
25%
35%
14%
Analytical Insights
Top 3 Obstacles to Overcome with Digital Transformation
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 5
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 13
of record, as well as ensure new data gathered from each customer interaction is
properly stored and can be easily accessed. (For more on this topic, see our white
paper “Building a Code Halo Economy for Insurance.”)
CIOs must develop the ability to deploy analytics tools and intelligence layers to
drive more meaning and insight from the rich data sets inside legacy systems. They
also need to position the IT organization to own the process of deploying systems
of intelligence. Once they have tackled analytics and data quality challenges (see
Quick Take above), they can help their organization appreciate the possibilities
for using existing data to create powerful consumer engagement experiences by
bringing innovative ideas to the table and delivering them more quickly than before.
Key Skill 4: Chief Talent Officer
A troublesome area for any digital CIO is the looming talent gap that exists with
digital technologies and the surrounding skills, such as design thinking, empathy
and creativity, as well as enterprise architecture, big data, IoT, and the SMAC Stack.
Overcoming Analytics Challenges
Common analytics challenges faced by CIOs include:
•	 Data collection: In order to get insights out of
the data, CIOs need to know what questions to
ask and how to use the data to predict results in
the business. CIOs should ask themselves what
data is important to collect from a business case
standpoint. How is it decided? CIOs can start by
looking at big data collection from a holistic per-
spective.
•	 Storage: In addition to the sheer volume require-
ments, particular data also needs to be available
on-demand at any time, whether for operations
purposes or compliance. CIOs should examine
infrastructure and cloud options thoroughly
before signing on for any solution. Purchasing
too much could waste money, but buying too little
could mean crashes and costly downtime.
•	 Organization and management:  To make data
useful, information needs to not just be stored and
accessible but also organized in a way that makes
it easy for data scientists and other users to locate,
analyze and apply it in a way that is both efficient
and measurable.
•	 Conversion: With companies increasingly turning
to chief data officers, architects and analysts,
it is critical that business intelligence tools are
readily available to these individuals. While they
may be involved in selecting the tools for creating
business intelligence, the CIO needs to
have systems in place — systems for
collection, storage, organization
and management — so they can
actually use them.
•	 Unstructured data growth:
Even when consumers aren’t
interacting specifically with a
brand — when they’re making
posts on social media, uploading
videos or generating any other
type of personalized content —
they’re giving businesses insight
into their habits, preferences
and consumer behaviors. CIOs
need to develop systems to
collect, store, organize and make
this valuable customer data
usable for operations, sales and
marketing.
Quick Take
14 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
Indeed, a large majority of respondents (82%) named the top new role for
insurance CIOs to be “chief talent officer,” and the ability to actively collaborate
with talent acquisition teams to acquire needed skills (see Figure 6). CIOs need to
first understand the skillsets required for digital success, assess the gaps within
their team, and then drive how the business seeks new types of talent rather than
waiting for human resources to get involved. (For more on creative ways to handle
the talent gap in the digital era, see our white paper “People, Not Just Machines,
Will Power Digital Innovation” and our Cognizanti journal article “Jumping on the
Gig Economy.”)
The focus for new talent, however, should not just be on deep technology silos and
isolated functions. CIOs need to look outside the industry and even the IT profession
to invite fresh thinking and skills into the organization. It’s the rare IT candidate
who possesses both the right- and left-brained thinking required for digital trans-
formation; rather than only pursuing these “unicorns,” CIOs should concentrate on
balancing their team with people who excel in either design thinking or technology
architecture and strive to bring together these two schools of thought when
designing a solution. This
will result in much greater
clarity of vision and a much
more compressed timeline
between idea conception and
implementation.
We’ve also seen CIOs run
hackathons to extend their
reach to entrepreneurial and
creative thinkers. Done well,
these events can propose
a specific challenge for
audiences to solve, and even
result in a working prototype
the organization can fund
or activate internally.
It’s the rare IT candidate who possesses both
the right- and left-brained thinking required
for digital transformation; rather than only
pursuing these “unicorns,” CIOs should
concentrate on balancing their team with
people who excel in either design thinking or
technology architecture and strive to bring
together these two schools of thought when
designing a solution.
82%
74%
Chief talent officer:
Work closely with HR
to bridge the IT/business
skill gaps
74%
IT evangelist:
Discuss how to leverage
IT to implement digital
strategy and engage IT
in digital transformation
Chief inclusive officer:
Promote an open and
innovative enterprise culture
and enforce talent value
chain seamlessly
The Evolving Role of the DIgital CIO
Percent of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following attributes:
Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs
Source: Cognizant Research Center
Figure 6
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 15
Hackathons can also be a talent incubator, as they can give CIOs a chance to
interact with an array of developers and see how they work and interact with others.
CIOs should also prioritize attending conferences that focus on UX design, partici-
pating on blogs by thought leaders in this space and begin engaging and developing
relationships and virtual partnerships. This is a great way to get feedback for
new ideas and can also lead to finding new talent for the organization. Analytics,
algorithms, big data and automation will also abolish rote tasks previously
performed by humans.
Looking Forward
Our findings make clear that while CIOs are valued for their technological acumen
and vision, a more fundamental organizational shift needs to take place for the IT
organization to advance the digital business mandate across the enterprise, and
shift from merely “doing” digital to “being” digital.
CIOs can begin by doing the following:
•	 Become directly engaged and embedded in key digital initiatives, advising
and serving as a key influencer or “center of excellence” for all things digital.
This includes specifying new tools and techniques, and suggesting changes to
business models and processes that not only breathe new life into existing ways
of working but also advance the carrier’s business innovation agenda.
•	 Ensure the IT organization is moving toward digital maturity, evolving the
legacy IT portfolio with the speed of digital transformation. This transformation
won’t come easily, particularly as the fail-fast digital credo contravenes IT’s tra-
ditional go-slow approach, particularly in insurance, to rationalize the investment
in new tools, processes and people, while delivering a consistent omnichannel
experience to businesses, agents and customers, alike.
•	 Ensure that IT serves as the primary channel through which digital products
and services are realized. The CIO must play a central role in the development
and commercialization and integration of these initiatives, even if they originate
somewhere else in the organization.
“Being digital” will require a strong push from the
CIO; it won’t happen on its own. Concurrently,
the dynamic between the CIO and CEO must
change. The CIO needs to complete the shift to
digital change agent, becoming a true digital
champion and a trusted advisor to the CEO.
As the executive sponsor, the CEO needs to
adopt the role of venture capitalist, reading
the needs of the marketplace, securing funding
for promising initiatives and working with the CIO on a collaborative roadmap for
digital maturity. (For more insights, please read “Being Digital: How and Why CIOs
Must Re-invent Themselves for a New Age.”)
None of these changes will be easy to make. They require proactive change led by
CIOs prepared to assert themselves in new ways — perhaps in ways for which past
experiences and training haven’t prepared them. At the same time, CIOs will be
stepping forward at a time of increasingly high expectations. They must perform
a balancing act, helping to elevate the business while continuing to deliver on the
traditional imperatives — managing IT efficiently and containing costs. By doing so,
they can earn their seat at the table alongside their fellow digital leaders.
The CIO needs to complete the
shift to digital change agent,
becoming a true digital champion
and a trusted advisor to the CEO.
16 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
Methodology
Our study was fielded in November 2015 to 200 North American CIOs and those
with similar IT leadership job titles across the banking, P&C insurance, healthcare
and life sciences industries. This white paper focuses exclusively on the responses
provided by 50 CIOs from the P&C insurance industry. The questionnaire was
instrumented by the Cognizant Research Center (CRC) and conducted via phone
by our partner E2E Research. The interviews allowed time for open discussion, and
verbatim comments were recorded with respondent approval. The findings (split
equally across the previously mentioned industries) were jointly analyzed by CRC
and Cognizant Business Consulting.
Footnotes
1	
Our study included 200 CIOs and IT leaders in multiple industries, including banking
and financial services, healthcare, life sciences and insurance. For more information,
see our reports “Being Digital: How and Why CIOs Are Reinventing Themselves for a
New Age,” “The New CIO Mandate in Life Sciences,” “Banking on the CIO for Digital
Success” and “Prescriptions for Healthcare Digital CIOs.”
2	
“Ring, American Family Insurance Announce Unique Effort to Help Prevent Home
Break-Ins,” BusinessWire, Nov. 18, 2015, http://www.businesswire.com/news/
home/20151118005278/en/Ring-American-Family-Insurance-announce-unique-
effort.
3	
“Home Automation Giant Vivint Partners with Liberty Mutual Insurance to Offer its
Customer Savings on Auto and Home Insurance,” Vivint, Dec. 3, 2013, http://www.
vivint.com/company/newsroom/press/Home-Automation-Giant-Vivint-Partners-
with-Liberty-Mutual-Insurance-to-Offer-its-Customers-Savings-on-Auto-and-Home-
Insurance.
4	
“USAA and Nuance Create Financial Literacy Virtual Assistant to Help Millennials
Break Negative Savings Rate,” BusinessWire, July 22, 2015, http://www.businesswire.
com/news/home/20150722005163/en/USAA-Nuance-Create-Financial-Literacy-
Virtual-Assistant.
5	
One book we often recommend is Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.
6	
“JohnHancockLaunches‘LabofForwardThinking’DevotedtoGeneratingInnovative
Business Solutions,” Manulife, July 9, 2015, http://www.manulife.com/public/news/
detail/0,,lang=en&artId=148372&navId=630002,00.html
7	
“Digital Insurance in Action,” The Digital Insurer, http://www.the-digital-insurer.com/
dia/axas-digital-initiatives/
8	
Nicole Laskowski, “MetLife Takes a Gamble on Startup Culture,” TechTarget, http://
searchcio.techtarget.com/feature/MetLife-takes-a-gamble-on-startup-culture.
HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 17
About the Authors
Jim Bramblet is Vice-President and Global Insurance Consulting Leader at Cognizant,
leading Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance Practice. He brings 19 years of
management consulting experience. A thought leader in insurance, Jim has worked
in an advisory capacity with top insurance executives across the globe, solving
strategic issues and helping streamline operations. He has led large transforma-
tional programs across agency, policy, underwriting and claims. He can be reached
at James.Bramblet@cognizant.com.
Rajesh Y. Datta is an Associate Director within Cognizant Business Consulting’s
Insurance (CBCi) Practice. His experience includes 20-plus years in business
consulting and software delivery.  Raj has an extensive background delivering
services and supporting major life and P&C insurance clients, specifically leading
the expansion and implementation of distribution solutions that meet carriers’
digital strategy initiatives. Raj can be reached at Rajesh.Datta@cognizant.com |
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rajesh-y-datta-838bba1
Sridhar Devarajalu co-owns the Digital Center of Excellence within Cognizant
Business Consulting’s Insurance Practice. He has over nine years of experience
in the property and casualty Insurance domain, defining the solution approach
and providing competitive intelligence for insurance carriers across the globe,
pertaining to digital transformation strategy, customer experience management
and process transformation. Sridhar holds a post-graduate diploma in general
management from the XLRI School of Business. He can be reached at Sridhar.
Devarajalu@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sridhardevaraj.
Karishma Dipti is a Consultant within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance
Practice. Shehas over two years of experience with requirements gathering and
business analysis, working primarily for the property and casualty line of business,
as well as consulting experience in process optimization. Karishma has worked with
North American and Canadian insurance clients. She holds a post-graduate degree
in management from the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, and can
be reached at Karishma.Dipti@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: https://in.linkedin.com/in/
karishma-dipti-b48b4051.
Acknowledgments
TheauthorswouldliketoacknowledgeandthankChandanGokhale,InsuranceDigital
Leader at Cognizant, for his guidance in research design, and Anu Ramaswamy,
Consulting Director at Cognizant, for her industry insights in developing this report.
18 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
HOW INSURANCE CIOS CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 19
World Headquarters
500 Frank W. Burr Blvd.
Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA
Phone: +1 201 801 0233
Fax: +1 201 801 0243
Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277
inquiry@cognizant.com
European Headquarters
1 Kingdom Street
Paddington Central
London W2 6BD
Phone: +44 (0) 207 297 7600
Fax: +44 (0) 207 121 0102
infouk@cognizant.com
India Operations Headquarters
#5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road
Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam
Chennai, 600 096 India
Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000
Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060
inquiryindia@cognizant.com
© Copyright 2016, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein is subject to
change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.	 TL Codex 1909
About Cognizant’s Insurance
Business Unit
Cognizant is a leading global services partner for the insurance
industry. In fact, seven of the top 10 global insurers and 33 of
the top 50 U.S. insurers benefit from our integrated services
portfolio. We help our clients run better by driving greater
efficiency and effectiveness, while simultaneously helping them
run differently by innovating and transforming their businesses
for the future. Cognizant redefines the way its clients operate
— from increasing sales and marketing effectiveness, to driving
process improvements and modernizing legacy systems, to
sourcing business operations.
About Cognizant
Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information
technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing ser-
vices, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build
stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey
(U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction,
technology innovation, deep industry and business process
expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies
the future of work. With over 100 development and delivery
centers worldwide and approximately 244,300 employees as of
June 30, 2016, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the
S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is
ranked among the top performing and fastest growing compa-
nies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow
us on Twitter: Cognizant.

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How Insurance CIOs Can Remake Themselves to Lead Digital Transformation

  • 1. How Insurance CIOs Can Remake Themselves to Lead Digital Transformation To become digital leaders, insurance CIOs need to adopt new workstyles and mindsets, including collaborative partnerships and an eye for innovation, our recent research shows.
  • 2. 2 KEEP CHALLENG ING September 2016 Executive Summary As they stand at the digital crossroads, property and casualty (P&C) insur- ers know they must change the very nature of their identity, shifting from “compensators of adversity” to “virtual guards” that ensure the well-being of their customers. To attract and retain digitally empowered consumers, and the rising millennial generation, it’s not enough to just do the same things better or more inexpensively. P&C insurers must imagine entirely new ways of doing business: Delivering micro-policies at the moment of need based on the cus- tomer’s immediate situation; influencing customers to change their behavior in order to reduce their risk profile; proactively coordinating assistance when an accident occurs; using intelligent algorithms that write claims summary reports, freeing adjusters to handle more complex and nuanced tasks. To successfully navigate the digital age, insurers need to rethink their ser- vices, processes and business model to harness the power of game-changing technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent automation and telematics, as well as social, mobile, analytics and the cloud (the SMAC Stack). However, according to our recent research, many insurers continue to view technology merely as a way to drive down costs and increase the productiv- ity of internal processes. While industry CIOs are focusing on the right set of technologies to enable digital transformation, real business outcomes can be achieved only by exchanging traditional approaches to being a CIO — internally focused, service-minded — for new work styles that embrace C-level collabora- tion, a strategic orientation, an eye for innovation and more. In late 2015, we conducted research to better understand where P&C insurers are in their digital transformation, the strategic role CIOs are playing, and the skills and capabilities they need to adopt to succeed in the digital age (see Methodology, page 16). We believe insurance CIOs are well poised to drive the digital agenda; however, many have a lot of work to do to expand their skill sets to function as digital leaders. Among the key findings revealed by our research: • The vast majority (90%) of insurance CIOs believe they should play a key role in digital transformation. However, less than one-third (27%) are cur- rently taking a leadership role — lower than the industry average (34%), slightly above healthcare (25%) and much lower than in banking (45%) or life sciences (40%).1 The focus on cost continues to pervade the insurance mindset, as CFOs were more likely to lead digital transformation initiatives at insurers than other industries.
  • 3. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 3 • To be seen as a digital leader, insurance CIOs need to become more stra- tegically minded. Compared with other industries, respondents were less apt to see themselves as digital strategists and transformational leaders. However, more than three-quarters (78%) believe they need to complete the transition from an “improver” role to “influencer” and “transformer.” • Key to doing this is improving their partnerships and collaboration capa- bilities, both inside and outside the organization. CIOs can help businesses achieve real outcomes with digital only when they collaborate with the entire CXO team to create a digital roadmap that leverages technology investments and delivery capabilities. • Insurance CIOs also need to embrace and enable digital innovation, as well as communicate new ideas about digital ways to work. This is a particular challenge, as insurance CIOs do not yet see themselves as innovators, per- haps in response to working in a low-growth industry that depends heavily on “keeping the lights on.” • Analytics capabilities are another area of development, with nearly half (49%) of respondents naming analytical insights as a key obstacle to enabling digital transformation. We believe CIOs are well positioned to help their organizations layer “systems of intelligence” on existing legacy systems. • An essential new role for insurance CIOs is that of the “chief talent offi- cer.” Particularly in an industry not known for attracting digitally-oriented staff, attracting and retaining top-notch talent is the most important new role for insurance CIOs, according to 84% of respondents. CIOs need to take the initiative to find creative ways to fill the skills gaps created by the digital economy, rather than waiting for human resources to take care of it. While the list might seem daunting for many insurance CIOs, accustomed to a conservative, cautious environment, the change will be worth it. As one respondent said, “The digital disruption that has transformed sector after sector, from publishing to travel, has come to insurance. Even consumers today want a digital-savvy environment.” The future of insurance, he said, can be seen in the efforts of a few forward- thinking players that have experimented with different business models for niche markets, as well as insurance market leaders that have used digital to “spread their wings” and grow more quickly than they otherwise would.
  • 4. 4 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 From ‘Doing’ to ‘Being’ Digital In our study, respondents are prioritizing the right digital technology and delivery capabilities to enable digital transformation (see Figure 1).  However, “being digital” goes beyond developing a few mobile apps, launching a Web portal or moving a system or application to the cloud. It requires making digital a core element of how the company operates and seamlessly blending physical and digital components to deliver new value to key stakeholders, whether they are policy holders or business partners. (For more on “being digital,” see our Cognizanti article “Making Digital Real and Rewarding.”) Top digital opportunities named by respondents were geared toward not just driving efficiency, but also reimagining customer experiences, reshaping how work gets done and even rewiring business models (see Figure 2, next page). We see the highest interest in the following areas: • Usage-based insurance: Nearly one-third of respondents named UBI as the top area for digital ROI, and no wonder: Insurers have discovered that when policy pricing is tied to human behavior, they can improve their loss ratios. The most prevalent 47% 45% 43% 39% 25% Cloud Technology Internet of Things Mobile Technology Social Media Technology Customer Relationship Management Top 5 Insurance Technology Investment Priorities Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs; multiple responses allowed Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 1 Nearly one-third of respondents named UBI as the top area for digital ROI, and no wonder: Insurers have discovered that when policy pricing is tied to human behavior, they can improve their loss ratios.
  • 5. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 5 example is the auto insurance industry’s “pay how you drive” offerings, which align driving behavior (captured through in-vehicle telematics devices and smartphone apps) with premium rates. These technologies can also deliver real-time feedback in order to promote safe driving practices and prevent losses. Closely related is the use of emerging technologies such as telematics, wearables, connected devices and the IoT to build a smart ecosystem that monitors events and behavior in real-time. By correlating this data with internal and external data sources, insurers can establish an automated closed-loop feedback mechanism to prevent, mitigate and predict future losses. They could also suggest loss control measures that customers could adopt to gain premium advantage, or create a tailored risk profile for each customer and better match the premium offered with the risk characteristics presented. Insurers are applying this approach to home insurance, using IoT, WiFi and high-definition video technologies to alert customers to possible break-ins and offering premium savings and deductible refunds to participating customers. Examples include American Family Insurance’s partnership with Ring (maker of the Ring Video Doorbell)2 and Liberty Mutual Insurance’s agreement with home automation company Vivint Partners, which offers services such as intelligent security, electronic door locks, video surveillance, and lighting and appliance control.3 Top 3 Digital Initiatives with High ROI Percent of respondents who ranked the initiative a 1 on a scale of 1-5, with “1” signifying highest ROI. Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 2 27% Usage-based Insurance 25% Omnichannel experience across devices 22% Robo-advisors
  • 6. 6 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 • Omnichannel experience: With the majority of insurance CIOs (60%) agreeing that the customer experience is largely shaped by digital technology, it’s also not surprising that omnichannel customer experience is another top area for digital return on investment. Forward-thinkers are implementing interactive capabili- ties via customer portals and mobile apps, enabling customers to interact with providers, compare offerings and take greater control of their policies and claims. One survey respondent, for example, said his business is working on providing platforms and online forums to enable customers to devise tailored solutions and use social media to voice their opinions and feedback. We partnered with the CIO’s team at a large North American insurer to design a holistic solution that would work across the customer portal and mobile devices, using industry-standard design patterns and reusable components. The insurer wanted to deliver an enhanced customer experience and self-service capabilities while increasing sales. We designed a comprehensive omnichannel solution based on journey maps that helped the insurer prioritize business needs. An Agile approach led to quick releases that enabled adoption to be tempered and collaborative. The solution has been rated one of the best mobile applications in the industry, as it signifi- cantly improved the customer experience by addressing key pain points. • Robo-advisors: A third area of high ROI is robo-advisors. Using technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and virtual assistants, insurers can embrace innovative ways of transforming the customer experience. USAA, for example, partnered with Nuance Communications to add the company’s virtual assistant (Nina) to its mobile customer service apps to deliver engaging self-service platforms for customers to transact, navigate, ask questions and customize their experience.4 Insurers are also using artificial intel- ligence-based technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce repetitive tasks and free agents to undertake more complex work that requires human elements, such as creativity, empathy and complex decision-making. (For more on this topic, see our white paper “How Insurers Can Harness Artificial Intelligence.”) Defining a New Role for the Insurance CIO Despite their industry’s cautious approach to overall business transformation, insurance CIOs envision themselves as crucial to enterprise digital initiatives, according to our study. Nearly all respondents (90%) said an essential element of enabling digital transformation was the CIO playing a key role in making digital decisions. The emerging face of the insurance CIO is that of a digital strategist and transforma- tional leader, according to three-quarters of respondents, while also working at the execution level as a functional leader: managing process change, evaluating and The emerging face of the insurance CIO is that of a digital strategist and transformational leader, according to three-quarters of respondents, while also working at the execution level as a functional leader: managing process change, evaluating and deploying new digital technologies, and ensuring effective implementation.
  • 7. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 7 Understanding CIO Leadership Competencies We advise CIOs to focus on only a handful of high-impact initiatives at a time and develop a compelling story around what these could accomplish. By doing so, they can both see digital in a more tangible and concrete way themselves, as well as repeat the story to others. Developing new go-to-market strategies and technologies Studying market trends/customer needs to identify digital opportunities Developing and contributing to the enterprise digital strategy Managing IT process change Encouraging CIO teams/staff to effectively implement digital initiative Actively managing complex organizational environments Finding, evaluating, deploying new digital technologies Industry average Insurance average Leading enterprise-wide digital initiatives Cultivating the CIO/CMO partnership Aligning digital initiatives with business goals Articulating the vision of enterprise digital strategy and mobilizing the commitment to excel DIGITAL STRATEGIST FUNCTIONAL LEADER TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER 78% 59% 77% 53% 79% 67% 77% 61% 84% 78% 77% 57% 85% 78% 81% 76% 77% 67% 77% 71% 82% 71% deploying new digital technologies, and ensuring effective implementation. At the same time, insurance CIOs were less adamant than respon- dents in other industries about whether these were relevant competencies (see Figure 3). To be accepted as a strategist and transformational leader requires new skills that are likely unfamiliar and yet achievable for many insurance CIOs. First, they need to broaden their perspective on what digital is and put it at the center of how they think about delivering solutions and enabling the best customer experience. This requires developing a sense of curiosity about how digital can be applied to the insurance business and the new forms of value it can enable. Once CIOs themselves adopt this vision, their job is to share it, helping business leaders open their minds to the art of what’s possible. They need to be able to communicate that vision and explain what can be done to enable it. We advise CIOs to focus on only a handful of high-impact initiatives at a time and develop a compelling story around what these could accomplish. By doing so, they can both see digital in a more tangible and concrete way themselves, as well as repeat the story to others. Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 3
  • 8. 8 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 Once the three or four initiatives are well under way, CIOs can move onto the next set of initiatives, again focusing on just a handful of important programs and creating a story around each. In this way, the CIO can influence and inspire change vs. just pushing technology solutions without people knowing what challenge or problem is being addressed. Keeping initiatives well-scoped is key; if projects take 18 months to deliver, the entire landscape could shift in that timeframe. Being a storyteller is not an inherent trait for everyone, but it can be learned. Books and workshops exist to develop story-telling and design thinking skills to activate right-brain, creative and empathetic thinking.1 Key Skills for the Insurance CIO In addition, CIOs can ensure their place at the helm of digital transformation by adopting the following workstyles and skill sets. Key Skill 1: A Partnership-Driven, Collaborative Approach Because digital initiatives are strategic in nature, CIOs need to go beyond identi- fying digital technologies and become integral in ensuring that hoped-for digital business outcomes are realized. This means partnering with the CXO team to create a digital roadmap that leverages technology investments and delivery capabilities. Governance & regulatory compliance framework Legacy IT systems DIGITALSTRATEGY 41% 37% 20% 57% 44% Competing business priorities Budgetary constraints Lack of support from senior management Challenges Faced by CIO in Developing Digital Strategy Percent of respondents who ranked the challenge a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1-5, with “1” signifying biggest challenge. Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 4
  • 9. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 9 Further, because digital initiatives encompass all parts of the organization, digital CIOs also need to develop solid working relationships beyond the C-suite. Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents acknowledged that a new responsibility as a digital CIO would revolve around spending more time on cross-functional col- laboration. Not only do they need to listen for what the biggest challenges are from various business functions, but they also need to communicate how digital can solve those issues in a meaningful way. CIOs have the opportunity to play a facilitative leadership role by enabling col- laboration across cross-functional teams, and by ensuring that the digital strategy is informed by opportunities derived from studying market trends and customer needs. It’s here that insurance CIOs have some work to do. When asked to rate the most important relationships with internal stakeholders, respondents named “the CIO team” as the top relationship (92%), higher than the CEO (86%), chief marketing officer (74%), chief operating officer (67%) or chief financial officer (47%). To fully benefit from digital opportunity, we believe CIOs must transition away from a “service-ori- ented” role, to working alongside their fellow C-suiters, in a partnership position. Considering that top barriers to digital transformation are budgetary constraints and lack of senior management support (see Figure 4, previous page), CIOs would do well to increase their collaborative relationship with C-level execs. Because of the importance of digital strategies in reshaping the customer experience, we advise insurance CIOs to start with the CIO/CMO relationship and grow from there. They can start by doing the following: • Focus on the customer experience: As CIOs and CMOs look for alignment on strategic direction, customer experience proves to be a powerful unifying goal. Once a shared vision is established, the CIO and CMO can develop a journey map, with the CIO focusing on the tech layer, and the CMO team on building the service layer. This shared focus also keeps attention on the entire digital ecosystem, rather than obsessing over particular channels and tactics. • Identify customer-centered KPIs: Building on a shared commitment to enhanced customer experience, CIOs and CMOs can work together on creating a common set of customer-centered key performance indicators (KPI), with each respective stakeholder being held responsible for specific goals and outcomes. These metrics need to focus on a new set of experienced-based metrics, focused on service, satisfaction and outcomes rather than internal efficiency. • Harness collaborative innovation: Shared innovation workshops can be another powerful bridge between CIOs and CMOs as they spend time shaping a shared roadmap for overall corporate success. Properly framed, and backed with high-level sponsorship and follow-up, these working sessions can lay the foundation for significant digital transformation across the enterprise and raise the bar for customer experience across multiple touchpoints. In addition to internal collaboration, insurance CIOs also need to forge new relation- ships and partnerships with external constituents (see Quick Take, next page). To fully benefit from digital opportunity, we believe CIOs must transition away from a “service- oriented” role, to working alongside their fellow C-suiters, in a partnership position.
  • 10. 10 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 When asked about digital disruption, a top factor CIOs named as a barrier is “rapid innovation capabilities” (45%). With the fast pace of change that digital entails, the only feasible answer to this challenge is to develop a range of new relationships outside the orga- nization. The digital economy, in fact, is defined by collaboration with startups, niche vendors, industry experts and others within or outside the industry, often using open application programming interfaces (APIs) and platforms for bolt-on innovation. It has become nothing short of a digital CIO imperative to plug and play in industry ecosystems — even ones that extend beyond insurance — to enable more contextual and relevant services. Examples include: • “Underwriters” that team with data scientists to leverage new and broader sets of data from both within and outside the company. • “Innovation advocates” who develop a “fail fast” envi- ronment for new digital ideas. • “Collaborative cross-industry partnerships” that emerge as insurers join auto dealers or property listing sites that offer customers better outcomes. • “Talent development and reskillling” experts that use short bursts of learning content, delivered online, via virtual or mobile channels. CIOs will also need to develop strong relationships with an array of cloud hosting providers to continuously com- municate the needs of the business beyond the initial conversation, particularly when it comes to security and data privacy. With hybrid cloud/on-site IT infrastructures, the role of “chief integration officer” will become increas- ingly important. Further, CIOs will need to forge relationships with innovators and technology partners in the broader ecosystem. For example, John Hancock launched its Lab of Forward Thinking, which hosts employee hackathons and partners with local startups and universities. Some of the technologies being explored include augmented reality, blockchain technologies, cognitive computing, machine learning and predictive analytics.6 Additionally, AXA has established a digital innovation sourcing unit that works on digital sourcing, detecting the latest trends and connecting startups and major high-tech players (like Facebook or Linkedin) with AXA, fostering a digital culture and initiating proofs of concept.7 In the digital age, insurers are now competing with the best and brightest in the technology world. To keep up with the near constant demand for innovation, they simply cannot “go it alone.” A key role for CIOs will be to identify partners and forge relationships that bring the enterprise into the digital age. Quick Take The Changing Partnership Ecosystem It has become nothing short of a digital CIO imperative to plug and play in industry ecosystems — even ones that extend beyond insurance — to enable more contextual and relevant services.
  • 11. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 11 Key Skill 2: An Eye for Innovation Only 57% of insurance CIOs named innovation as a critical competency for being a digital CIO, which is low compared with the industry average of 75%. CIOs who want to lead digital transformation need to move beyond a mindset of “keeping the lights on” and begin actively noticing the changes in their industry and the world around them, particularly when it comes to what customers want and need, and how that might change over time. CIOs need to develop a sensitivity for human behavior and desires, and prepare an adaptable technology ecosystem that can respond. Key to doing this is thinking beyond industry “givens,” and developing a fresh perspective by exploring how other industries — such as retail, financial services and media/entertainment — approach digital opportunities and roadblocks. By meeting with professionals from other walks of life, and even bringing them into their inner circle, CIOs can develop a new way of thinking about the entrenched issues endemic to delivering digital solutions within the constraints of a highly regulated environment. CIOs should also keep current with consumer use of technology so they can anticipate what the “ask” is behind a user request and think innovatively about the response. By identifying a reference point, CIOs can build on a common language to contextualize requests, which can help them begin thinking more innovatively. An example is the IT function at MetLife, which has worked to transition from order takers to experimentors, risk-takers and flexible providers of new technology. The CIO has worked to instill a startup culture within the 145-year-old enterprise by developing a new funding structure and project success metrics, attracting the right talent and helping employees see themselves as entrepreneurs inside the enterprise. When the CIO and his team recently brainstormed ideas to obtain a 360-degree view of customers for the call center, they arrived at an idea now known as The Wall: a new call center platform that looks, acts and feels like Facebook on the front end and incorporates a MongoDB NoSQL database on the back end, which is capable of integrating data from 70 different sources. The pilot — completed in two weeks — was well received and sealed IT’s reputation for innovation.8 Key Skill 3: Analytics The exponential increase of information, generated by smartphones, social networking, search and the IoT, has created a snowball effect when it comes to the data that enterprises generate, collect and store. No wonder that the need to develop analytical insights and maintain quality data were named as top obstacles for digital transformation (see Figure 5, next page). Analytics can deliver value throughout the insurance value chain, including: • Risk assessment and price optimization: Adds precision to actuarial work, leading to more accurate pricing and streamlining approval processes. • Marketing strategies and customer experience: Improves decision-making, leading to more effective marketing strategies, which results in the ability to influence customer behavior. CIOs should also keep current with consumer use of technology so they can anticipate what the “ask” is behind a user request and think innovatively about the response.
  • 12. 12 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 For example, we worked with a global insurance carrier to harness its huge volumes of information to identify and focus on the right customers, while reducing customer attrition. The company also wanted to effectively use its rich customer data to perform effective customer segmentation, maximize revenue opportunities and expand customer product penetration levels. We helped the insurer develop customer value analytics for its Japan operations, covering over 23 million customers and 45 million prospects, and encompassing 13 million polices and over nine million claims. The team identified opportunities with the potential to yield over 4.4B yen in annual net premiums for the insurer, including the potential to retain, grow and protect the customer /prospect base. The project also led to identifying opportunities that could optimize operational efforts to create savings while serving these customers. We believe CIOs have a unique appreciation for the volume and granularity of insurance data and that they can parlay this knowledge into developing strong data analysis capabilities within their organization. These analytics skills can become a core service that IT provides to other areas of the business and even monetizes as a commercial service for other insurance organizations. New systems of customer engagement typically must draw on data stored in legacy systems of record. To ensure engagement systems offer these insights and choices, organizations need to develop a “systems of intelligence” layer. Systems of intelli- gence will power engagement interfaces with data and analysis drawn from systems Rapid Innovation Capabilities This is our: Primary Challenge Secondary Challenge Quality Data 22% 16% 20% 25% 35% 14% Analytical Insights Top 3 Obstacles to Overcome with Digital Transformation Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 5
  • 13. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 13 of record, as well as ensure new data gathered from each customer interaction is properly stored and can be easily accessed. (For more on this topic, see our white paper “Building a Code Halo Economy for Insurance.”) CIOs must develop the ability to deploy analytics tools and intelligence layers to drive more meaning and insight from the rich data sets inside legacy systems. They also need to position the IT organization to own the process of deploying systems of intelligence. Once they have tackled analytics and data quality challenges (see Quick Take above), they can help their organization appreciate the possibilities for using existing data to create powerful consumer engagement experiences by bringing innovative ideas to the table and delivering them more quickly than before. Key Skill 4: Chief Talent Officer A troublesome area for any digital CIO is the looming talent gap that exists with digital technologies and the surrounding skills, such as design thinking, empathy and creativity, as well as enterprise architecture, big data, IoT, and the SMAC Stack. Overcoming Analytics Challenges Common analytics challenges faced by CIOs include: • Data collection: In order to get insights out of the data, CIOs need to know what questions to ask and how to use the data to predict results in the business. CIOs should ask themselves what data is important to collect from a business case standpoint. How is it decided? CIOs can start by looking at big data collection from a holistic per- spective. • Storage: In addition to the sheer volume require- ments, particular data also needs to be available on-demand at any time, whether for operations purposes or compliance. CIOs should examine infrastructure and cloud options thoroughly before signing on for any solution. Purchasing too much could waste money, but buying too little could mean crashes and costly downtime. • Organization and management:  To make data useful, information needs to not just be stored and accessible but also organized in a way that makes it easy for data scientists and other users to locate, analyze and apply it in a way that is both efficient and measurable. • Conversion: With companies increasingly turning to chief data officers, architects and analysts, it is critical that business intelligence tools are readily available to these individuals. While they may be involved in selecting the tools for creating business intelligence, the CIO needs to have systems in place — systems for collection, storage, organization and management — so they can actually use them. • Unstructured data growth: Even when consumers aren’t interacting specifically with a brand — when they’re making posts on social media, uploading videos or generating any other type of personalized content — they’re giving businesses insight into their habits, preferences and consumer behaviors. CIOs need to develop systems to collect, store, organize and make this valuable customer data usable for operations, sales and marketing. Quick Take
  • 14. 14 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 Indeed, a large majority of respondents (82%) named the top new role for insurance CIOs to be “chief talent officer,” and the ability to actively collaborate with talent acquisition teams to acquire needed skills (see Figure 6). CIOs need to first understand the skillsets required for digital success, assess the gaps within their team, and then drive how the business seeks new types of talent rather than waiting for human resources to get involved. (For more on creative ways to handle the talent gap in the digital era, see our white paper “People, Not Just Machines, Will Power Digital Innovation” and our Cognizanti journal article “Jumping on the Gig Economy.”) The focus for new talent, however, should not just be on deep technology silos and isolated functions. CIOs need to look outside the industry and even the IT profession to invite fresh thinking and skills into the organization. It’s the rare IT candidate who possesses both the right- and left-brained thinking required for digital trans- formation; rather than only pursuing these “unicorns,” CIOs should concentrate on balancing their team with people who excel in either design thinking or technology architecture and strive to bring together these two schools of thought when designing a solution. This will result in much greater clarity of vision and a much more compressed timeline between idea conception and implementation. We’ve also seen CIOs run hackathons to extend their reach to entrepreneurial and creative thinkers. Done well, these events can propose a specific challenge for audiences to solve, and even result in a working prototype the organization can fund or activate internally. It’s the rare IT candidate who possesses both the right- and left-brained thinking required for digital transformation; rather than only pursuing these “unicorns,” CIOs should concentrate on balancing their team with people who excel in either design thinking or technology architecture and strive to bring together these two schools of thought when designing a solution. 82% 74% Chief talent officer: Work closely with HR to bridge the IT/business skill gaps 74% IT evangelist: Discuss how to leverage IT to implement digital strategy and engage IT in digital transformation Chief inclusive officer: Promote an open and innovative enterprise culture and enforce talent value chain seamlessly The Evolving Role of the DIgital CIO Percent of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following attributes: Base: 50 insurance sector CIOs Source: Cognizant Research Center Figure 6
  • 15. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 15 Hackathons can also be a talent incubator, as they can give CIOs a chance to interact with an array of developers and see how they work and interact with others. CIOs should also prioritize attending conferences that focus on UX design, partici- pating on blogs by thought leaders in this space and begin engaging and developing relationships and virtual partnerships. This is a great way to get feedback for new ideas and can also lead to finding new talent for the organization. Analytics, algorithms, big data and automation will also abolish rote tasks previously performed by humans. Looking Forward Our findings make clear that while CIOs are valued for their technological acumen and vision, a more fundamental organizational shift needs to take place for the IT organization to advance the digital business mandate across the enterprise, and shift from merely “doing” digital to “being” digital. CIOs can begin by doing the following: • Become directly engaged and embedded in key digital initiatives, advising and serving as a key influencer or “center of excellence” for all things digital. This includes specifying new tools and techniques, and suggesting changes to business models and processes that not only breathe new life into existing ways of working but also advance the carrier’s business innovation agenda. • Ensure the IT organization is moving toward digital maturity, evolving the legacy IT portfolio with the speed of digital transformation. This transformation won’t come easily, particularly as the fail-fast digital credo contravenes IT’s tra- ditional go-slow approach, particularly in insurance, to rationalize the investment in new tools, processes and people, while delivering a consistent omnichannel experience to businesses, agents and customers, alike. • Ensure that IT serves as the primary channel through which digital products and services are realized. The CIO must play a central role in the development and commercialization and integration of these initiatives, even if they originate somewhere else in the organization. “Being digital” will require a strong push from the CIO; it won’t happen on its own. Concurrently, the dynamic between the CIO and CEO must change. The CIO needs to complete the shift to digital change agent, becoming a true digital champion and a trusted advisor to the CEO. As the executive sponsor, the CEO needs to adopt the role of venture capitalist, reading the needs of the marketplace, securing funding for promising initiatives and working with the CIO on a collaborative roadmap for digital maturity. (For more insights, please read “Being Digital: How and Why CIOs Must Re-invent Themselves for a New Age.”) None of these changes will be easy to make. They require proactive change led by CIOs prepared to assert themselves in new ways — perhaps in ways for which past experiences and training haven’t prepared them. At the same time, CIOs will be stepping forward at a time of increasingly high expectations. They must perform a balancing act, helping to elevate the business while continuing to deliver on the traditional imperatives — managing IT efficiently and containing costs. By doing so, they can earn their seat at the table alongside their fellow digital leaders. The CIO needs to complete the shift to digital change agent, becoming a true digital champion and a trusted advisor to the CEO.
  • 16. 16 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016 Methodology Our study was fielded in November 2015 to 200 North American CIOs and those with similar IT leadership job titles across the banking, P&C insurance, healthcare and life sciences industries. This white paper focuses exclusively on the responses provided by 50 CIOs from the P&C insurance industry. The questionnaire was instrumented by the Cognizant Research Center (CRC) and conducted via phone by our partner E2E Research. The interviews allowed time for open discussion, and verbatim comments were recorded with respondent approval. The findings (split equally across the previously mentioned industries) were jointly analyzed by CRC and Cognizant Business Consulting. Footnotes 1 Our study included 200 CIOs and IT leaders in multiple industries, including banking and financial services, healthcare, life sciences and insurance. For more information, see our reports “Being Digital: How and Why CIOs Are Reinventing Themselves for a New Age,” “The New CIO Mandate in Life Sciences,” “Banking on the CIO for Digital Success” and “Prescriptions for Healthcare Digital CIOs.” 2 “Ring, American Family Insurance Announce Unique Effort to Help Prevent Home Break-Ins,” BusinessWire, Nov. 18, 2015, http://www.businesswire.com/news/ home/20151118005278/en/Ring-American-Family-Insurance-announce-unique- effort. 3 “Home Automation Giant Vivint Partners with Liberty Mutual Insurance to Offer its Customer Savings on Auto and Home Insurance,” Vivint, Dec. 3, 2013, http://www. vivint.com/company/newsroom/press/Home-Automation-Giant-Vivint-Partners- with-Liberty-Mutual-Insurance-to-Offer-its-Customers-Savings-on-Auto-and-Home- Insurance. 4 “USAA and Nuance Create Financial Literacy Virtual Assistant to Help Millennials Break Negative Savings Rate,” BusinessWire, July 22, 2015, http://www.businesswire. com/news/home/20150722005163/en/USAA-Nuance-Create-Financial-Literacy- Virtual-Assistant. 5 One book we often recommend is Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. 6 “JohnHancockLaunches‘LabofForwardThinking’DevotedtoGeneratingInnovative Business Solutions,” Manulife, July 9, 2015, http://www.manulife.com/public/news/ detail/0,,lang=en&artId=148372&navId=630002,00.html 7 “Digital Insurance in Action,” The Digital Insurer, http://www.the-digital-insurer.com/ dia/axas-digital-initiatives/ 8 Nicole Laskowski, “MetLife Takes a Gamble on Startup Culture,” TechTarget, http:// searchcio.techtarget.com/feature/MetLife-takes-a-gamble-on-startup-culture.
  • 17. HOW INSURANCE CIOs CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 17 About the Authors Jim Bramblet is Vice-President and Global Insurance Consulting Leader at Cognizant, leading Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance Practice. He brings 19 years of management consulting experience. A thought leader in insurance, Jim has worked in an advisory capacity with top insurance executives across the globe, solving strategic issues and helping streamline operations. He has led large transforma- tional programs across agency, policy, underwriting and claims. He can be reached at James.Bramblet@cognizant.com. Rajesh Y. Datta is an Associate Director within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance (CBCi) Practice. His experience includes 20-plus years in business consulting and software delivery.  Raj has an extensive background delivering services and supporting major life and P&C insurance clients, specifically leading the expansion and implementation of distribution solutions that meet carriers’ digital strategy initiatives. Raj can be reached at Rajesh.Datta@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rajesh-y-datta-838bba1 Sridhar Devarajalu co-owns the Digital Center of Excellence within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance Practice. He has over nine years of experience in the property and casualty Insurance domain, defining the solution approach and providing competitive intelligence for insurance carriers across the globe, pertaining to digital transformation strategy, customer experience management and process transformation. Sridhar holds a post-graduate diploma in general management from the XLRI School of Business. He can be reached at Sridhar. Devarajalu@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sridhardevaraj. Karishma Dipti is a Consultant within Cognizant Business Consulting’s Insurance Practice. Shehas over two years of experience with requirements gathering and business analysis, working primarily for the property and casualty line of business, as well as consulting experience in process optimization. Karishma has worked with North American and Canadian insurance clients. She holds a post-graduate degree in management from the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, and can be reached at Karishma.Dipti@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: https://in.linkedin.com/in/ karishma-dipti-b48b4051. Acknowledgments TheauthorswouldliketoacknowledgeandthankChandanGokhale,InsuranceDigital Leader at Cognizant, for his guidance in research design, and Anu Ramaswamy, Consulting Director at Cognizant, for her industry insights in developing this report.
  • 18. 18 KEEP CHALLENGING September 2016
  • 19. HOW INSURANCE CIOS CAN REMAKE THEMSELVES TO LEAD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 19
  • 20. World Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Phone: +1 201 801 0233 Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 inquiry@cognizant.com European Headquarters 1 Kingdom Street Paddington Central London W2 6BD Phone: +44 (0) 207 297 7600 Fax: +44 (0) 207 121 0102 infouk@cognizant.com India Operations Headquarters #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Chennai, 600 096 India Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 inquiryindia@cognizant.com © Copyright 2016, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. TL Codex 1909 About Cognizant’s Insurance Business Unit Cognizant is a leading global services partner for the insurance industry. In fact, seven of the top 10 global insurers and 33 of the top 50 U.S. insurers benefit from our integrated services portfolio. We help our clients run better by driving greater efficiency and effectiveness, while simultaneously helping them run differently by innovating and transforming their businesses for the future. Cognizant redefines the way its clients operate — from increasing sales and marketing effectiveness, to driving process improvements and modernizing legacy systems, to sourcing business operations. About Cognizant Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing ser- vices, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 100 development and delivery centers worldwide and approximately 244,300 employees as of June 30, 2016, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing compa- nies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant.