Bill Bloom was close to Travelers Property Casualty Corp. as Accenture's client partner for the firm, but the ties have grown more intimate with his signing on as senior vice president and CIO, following Diana Beecher's departure to Marsh this spring.
As a result of his work at the carrier -- which involved technological support of its spin-off from New York-based Citigroup -- Bloom got acquainted with every Travelers line-of-business head, and all the top people in IT and operations. "I got to work with them and see how they worked, and they got to know me over the last year or so, so when this opportunity opened up and we started talking, it was kind of like we had been dating," he says.
Bloom believes Travelers popped the question, so to speak, based on confidence in his abilities and a cultural affinity. "It's pretty much no-nonsense here, very focused on the few things that it's going to take to be successful, and so I think they just watched the way I attacked problems and handled myself," he comments. "And given that I came from consulting, I tended to put the business first and really try to focus on value for money."
Despite his familiarity with the carrier, Bloom says he will take a couple of months to see things as a real insider before charting a technology investment course. "While I have some opinions as to different avenues where we might go, there's nothing concrete yet," he declares. "As a consultant you come in, you make a lot of recommendations and sometimes build capabilities, but at the end of the day you don't get to own it long term. It's a much more personal feeling when you're making those decisions and building those capabilities for something that you're going to live with for a long time."
Those decisions will be influenced by Bloom's reciprocal confidence in what the carrier has to offer. "The nice thing about Travelers is there isn't a lot that's really broke," he says. "We've got one of, if not the best infastructure/ops/engineering groups that I've seen in the industry. My challenge is to keep us to that level but make sure we can scale to whatever might come down the pike from a business perspective."
Although Bloom has worked for Accenture since 1985, he worked inside an insurance carrier previously, during a stint at The Hartford between 1996 and 1999. Bloom served in the carrier's employee benefits division as vice president and director, business technology services, and vice president and director, national accounts, successively. Of his present tenure at Travelers, Bloom quips, "Hopefully it will be long!"
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio