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Clarica's New CIO Views Technology as Differentiator

When Clarica named a new tech chief, it did not have to look far. The life insurance and annuity provider named 16-year veteran Peter Van Dyk as the company's vice president of IT and CIO.

When Fargo, ND-based Clarica ($2.3 billion in assets) named a new technology chief, it did not have to look far for talent. The life insurance and annuity provider, which changed its name from The Mutual Group a few months ago, has named 16-year Clarica veteran Peter Van Dyk as the company's vice president of information technology and CIO. Van Dyk, whose career began in Clarica's Canadian operations, plans to capitalize on his project management experience in his new role.

"My recent background was focused on applications delivery management issues," according to Van Dyk. "In these roles, I spent time dealing with strategic and operational IT issues. So, this broad background helps me to be able to contribute in each area because now I have full accountability for all IT issues facing Clarica.

"A key issue is in managing the priorities we have in order to achieve Clarica's business goals," Van Dyk continues. "I have spent many hours working at our Canadian office...developing a process to help set priorities. I've been able to put this background to work almost immediately."The biggest challenge facing Van Dyk, he says, is helping the company meet its business goals and growth targets, both in terms of sales and net income. "Technology will help achieve these targets by providing effective and targeted tools for our independent sales force, both for the marketing companies that license new agents and for the sales process itself, as we quickly deliver new products that our sales forces are looking for," according to Van Dyk. Also, Clarica plans to use technology to "minimize the cost of underwriting and servicing new business generated by our sales force," he adds.

Van Dyk's vision is to use technology as a "differentiator to help us achieve our vision of making Clarica the elite company of choice for the independent marketplace," he notes. In order to achieve his vision, Van Dyk plans to develop strong relationships between the IT and business areas and encourage and support the use of effective project management techniques to meet good cost and time objectives.

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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