In a newly created position at Employers Reinsurance Corp. (Overland Park, KS) Robert B. Jones, previously ERC's global services leader and e-business leader, will become global business development and services Leader. Jones, who hopes to lead ERC into a "digitized knowledge management" process, will lead the identification and execution of acquisitions and strategic alternatives to support the company's growth initiatives and guide strategic planning.
His experience as ERC's e-business leader will be beneficial in his new position, Jones says. "Technology is a competitive advantage," he says. "And traditionally, the insurance industry has been data rich and knowledge poor. At ERC, we are going to leverage data and turn it into information with the use of technology. E-business and digital tools make certain types of analysis possible that were not possible before the Internet."
The current turmoil among new-economy companies and "the demise of the dot-coms," says Jones, have taught harsh lessons to some companies trying to establish a toehold on the Web. "I learned that in e-business the importance of the business model is vital," he says. "Delivering a good customer value proposition, backed by strong management, is vital."
Although he does not view himself as a technologist, Jones stresses that in his previous role as e-business leader he had to stay on top of technology. "As the e-business leader I closely collaborated with ERC's technical experts and the CIO," he notes.
Jones' vision is to help ERC create a "business model that is much more digitized than what has been found in the insurance industry historically," he says. "The insurance industry has a lot of paper. It is challenging to analyze data. I think that delivering tools to liberate data in order to analyze it is important. I would like to lead ERC's entry into digitized knowledge management."
At this point, Jones says he is not sure if ERC will embark down a path of acquisition of products and services, along the lines ERC's recent acquisition of CyberComp from Reliance Insurance, or if the company will develop technology and products internally. Rather, he anticipates it will be a combination of both models.
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