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Having freshly retired from Chubb & Sons in March, industry veteran Joseph V. Perno has taken an advisory position with UK-based insurance software solutions firm The Innovation Group (TiG).

Having freshly retired from Chubb & Sons in March, industry veteran Joseph V. Perno has taken an advisory position with UK-based insurance software solutions firm The Innovation Group (TiG).

In his last role, as senior vice president, application systems, Perno was responsible for Chubb's (Warren, NJ) international, financial, human resources and administrative IT systems. In his new position as insurance industry advisor, Perno will produce written materials and consultation to TiG's leadership. According to Perno, having been a customer of insurance-related software for more than 30 years, he will be offering TiG "an education about some of the issues they'll face when they take their product to market -- concerns they ought to have, and how they need to understand the issue the customer has, within the customer's organization."

A former customer and member of TiG's advisory board, Perno says he was moved to accept TiG's offer among others owing to a number of factors. "They have a very, very good customer-centric focus, which I saw in action as a customer," he says. Also, in addition to having a long-standing relationship with Ed Ossie, TiG's COO and head of its technology division, says Perno, "I've had the opportunity of working with TiG staff when they supported me, and have subsequently had the opportunity to meet a number of other folks and think they have a very high-quality staff." Finally, he adds, "I'm intrigued by their product, which includes the Huon system and some other components, one of which was developed under my watch at Chubb and subsequently sold to MTW." Both Huon and MTW were acquired by TiG in 2001.

In his new role, Perno looks forward to helping TiG bridge a credibility gap he believes all vendors face. "There's a big uphill battle, in my view," he says. "Having watched and lived through some of it, I think we're all faced with some of the 'false promises' that our industry has made to its business partners -- false promises like ERP, and the failures of ERP and CRM, and perhaps most devastatingly, promises relating to e-commerce."

"That makes it a far more difficult for a software vendor in today's market place to go into a company and say, 'Hey, we've got the greatest product, this is really going to help you!' They've heard those promises before, so there's a very high degree of skepticism," Perno explains. "That skepticism is in many cases stronger on the business side, because they say, 'We heard about this for years and we still have large IT shops, high expense levels, and we're still not where we want to be with automation.'"

Perno spent a total of 21 years with Chubb, beginning in the 1970s and interrupted by a 12-year stint at Morristown, NJ-based Crum & Forster, where he began in 1980, running personal and commercial lines, and spent 10 years as the company's CIO. Perno describes his experience at Chubb as "having run IT for everything but claims."

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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