Having been top technology officer at RLI for two years, Piyush K. Singh has been promoted to chief information officer. Singh attributes the awarding of his new title to his achievements during his tenure as vice president, as well as his assumption of increasing responsibilities. Among the latter is his direction of a Six Sigma effort within the company. "We're piloting that now, and I'll be spearheading that endeavor for corporate wide usage," he says.
Singh arrived at the Peoria Ill.-based P&C carrier in 1994 from the financial services sector of Price Waterhouse (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers), where he was part of the management consulting services group. In 1998 he was promoted to assistant vice president, and in 2000 became vice president, information technology.
Building upon achievements in enabling RLI's e-business capabilities, Singh plans to culminate an effort to deploy systems across key lines of business. "For our brokerage area of business we've already deployed front-end systems for three of the product lines and we will be deploying four more this year," he says, completing a target of implementing integrated rate, quote and policy issuance systems for seven product lines. "For Surety and personal umbrella we'll be deploying systems for their front-end agency base," he adds.
Singh says he will focus on IT initiatives that increase competitive advantage. Another top goal is to permit the scalability necessary to respond with flexibility to the changing economic climate as it affects the insurance industry. "There's always going to be upturns and downturns, and we want to be able to respond to that," Singh remarks. As an example of how RLI's IT organization has already demonstrated its ability in that regard he cites how one of its lines of business doubled its premium in the last couple of years. "That was partly rate-driven, partly volume driven," he explains. "But in the end they didn't end up adding staff, which speaks volumes with respect to the scalability we managed to achieve."
Singh plans to bring the Six Sigma initiative to the point where the methodology will be adopted across the entire organization by the second quarter of this year. The goal, he says, is to "bring about more efficiencies in the business process, and not only within departments, but truly across departmental boundary lines."
RLI will also look to continue an emphasis on maintaining cost discipline in IT, according to Singh. "It's more than simply cost-cutting," Singh elaborates. "We don't look at anything from a purely cost-cutting perspective; it's really optimizing what we what we deliver as services, as well as doing it in the most cost-effective fashion."
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