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Gelb Joins Main Street America Group

Joel Gelb's new opportunity at Main Street America Group.

In making his latest career change, Joel Gelb says the fundamental issue was finding an opportunity where he could make an important difference for the company. That opportunity materialized for the former Frontier Insurance Group CIO in the guise of an offer to be vice president and chief information officer of Main Street America Group (MSA Group, Keene, NH, net written premiums of $442 million in 2000), whose companies include National Grange Mutual Insurance Co. and Old Dominion Insurance Co.

"It seemed to me that the opportunity was here because of a profound belief that technology was a key enabler for this company to achieve its mission," Gelb says. "One of the real pulls for me was that, as I talked to senior management, I got a consistent message: We do a lot of things very well, but we need to upgrade our technology and be able to do business with our customers—who are exclusively agents—on the Internet."

Gelb's describes his brief at MSA Group as translating the carrier's technology upgrade need "into a solid IT strategy, keeping it aligned and delivering on it. The focus now is on replacing existing legacy systems with Internet-based ones to allow its business model to go forward." Of that challenge, he says, "it's the kind of thing I like to do and I understand the players in that technology game," chief of which he identifies as Toronto-based Castek, with whom he worked at Frontier (Rock Hill, NY).

Gelb's goals at MSA Group are to achieve "quick time-to-market for products and allow for effective business interaction with independent agents, any way the agent wants it," he says.

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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