Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


04:45 PM
Lisa Valentine
Lisa Valentine
Connect Directly

Transparent Technology

Jim Hanson, EVP of Information Services, Mutual of Omaha Jim Hanson and Mutual of Omaha (.74 billion in 2005 revenue) have a long history together. Hanson joined the mutual company right out of college and has served in his current role as the carrier's EVP for information services for 10 years. During his tenure, Hanson has been able to update the organization's legacy systems with new technologies while making the resulting IT environment appear seamless to the company's internal and external

I&T: How has Mutual of Omaha's recent exit from the property and casualty insurance business impacted your IT organization?

Hanson: We exited the P&C business, beginning the transition about a year and a half ago. We did this so we can increase our focus on our core individual and commercial products. Since P&C was a smaller product line than our other lines, exiting that business didn't have a major impact on IT, although, like all acquisitions and divestitures, the transition was not insignificant. Our challenge in IT was to interface two diverse technology architectures -- ours and the company that bought the business [Fidelity National Insurance Services (FNIS), a subsidiary of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fidelity National Financial]. But this wasn't a major challenge, and the transition was transparent to our policyholders.

We had implemented our P&C administration system about three years ago, and although it wasn't old, it was a legacy environment. FNIS had already decided to use the same system, so rather than manage a major conversion, they just assumed the system from us.

I&T: What technologies or technology-related initiatives will grow most in terms of their slice of Mutual of Omaha's budget pie in the next 12 months?

Hanson: Our focus is on our individual and commercial core products, so we'll concentrate our technology efforts around improving transaction processes in those areas. Some of our initiatives include Web services so we can get information out of our older administration systems to our customers, be they agents, brokers or policyholders.

I&T: Do you plan to retire any of these legacy systems?

Hanson: We will look at retiring some systems. If we have minimal support around an older system, we may decide to pull out the information we need and pave over the system. If we do have an administration system that is important going forward but was built with older technology, we'll look at replacement or refurbishment.

I&T: How does Mutual of Omaha's use of Web services compare to other insurers?

Hanson: We're in the middle of the Web services spectrum -- we're comparable to others but not on the leading edge. But we are continually working to provide our brokers and agents with information to enable them to track an application or to access commission information.

I&T: Are you doing Web services development in-house?

Hanson: We do a mix of in-house and external development depending upon our internal skill set and how quickly we can respond to the business. For example, I can't tell the business side that I need six months to build my skill sets around a technology they need for an online quoting project. We'll tap into outside resources to get the product pushed out, and then build our skills internally. We've done some work with IBM (Armonk, N.Y.), and we've also engaged a local firm that has better Java skills than we have in-house, as well as experience with the business processes we are automating.

1 of 2
Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters