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BCBSMN SVP and CIO Jay Levine Thrives on Change

Levine will shepherd claims modernization, user-friendly portals and improvements across the health insurer's technology infrastructure and application portfolio.

Jay Levine, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Jay Levine,
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
The health insurance industry faces considerable uncertainty and change as the new presidential administration develops its healthcare policy and the economy continues to deteriorate. Minneapolis-based health insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN) is in even greater flux than many of its competitors, due to changes at senior levels of management and a significant legacy systems burden. Fortunately, Jay Levine, the company's SVP and CIO, is very comfortable with change.

Prior to joining the Blue plan in November 2008, Levine had worked in both the government and public sectors, and did extensive M&A and transformation work as a senior technology officer in the publishing industry. "I've gotten good at the activities that go with high-change environments," Levine remarks. "In most cases they provide a nice mix of business technical challenges."

Levine's most pressing challenge is modernizing BCBSMN's (approximately $8.4 billion in 2007 revenue) claims system. He says he currently is reviewing an inherited replacement option as well as alternative approaches. "This is my No. 1 technical business charter," Levine comments.

That mandate falls within a larger strategic role that Levine plays as the occupant of the CIO office, which had been vacant at BCBSMN for several months before he assumed the role in November 2008. "The technology organization had not had executive leadership or representation on the executive committee," he relates.

As IT's voice on the senior management team, Levine is driving sweeping change across what he calls the company's "stable but antiquated" set of technology platforms. Objectives currently in flight include data consolidation, operating system consolidation and upgrading the carrier's portal capabilities. The latter goal involves improvements in design consistency and simplified sign-on capabilities to improve the insurer's customer and distributor contact points.

"We're looking to improve the portals' usability, bringing them up-to-date with more current Web 2.0 capabilities," Levine explains. "We're focusing on usability and consistency of look and feel."

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

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