If you haven't yet, please take a moment to read my interview with Joe Hayes, who took over as CIO of Prudential Group Insurance in February. He talked about several different aspects of the way IT helps enable the several different stakeholders involved in group insurance.
One of those stakeholders, of course, is employers who buy Pru's group products. And Hayes joined the group insurance division in the midst of its conducting of its Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond.
The study found:
- 51% of employers say it is important that their benefits systems interface with their insurance carrier’s systems
- 59% are looking for their insurance carriers to offer “plug and play” — the flexibility to adapt and connect to other carriers or a third-party administrator
- 45% say that benefits technology has helped improve worker productivity
When I interviewed Hayes, I asked him about the study. Here's his responses:
Insurance & Technology: What stood out to you the most from the study?
Joe Hayes: One thing that surprised me was the lack of the access to employees. We're administering a product, but we don't see behind the employer or know the employee until there's a claim.
I&T: Employers indicated that they want Pru and other insurers to provide them with capabilities that can, for example, track absences. Do you see this as core to your business?
JH: It's probably an enhancement to our offerings. It falls right in line with [my mandate to] make employers' lives easier. If we can give them easily consumable data, the idea is that they can use it to expose productivity. Talking about scheduling and workplace accommodations might be able to, based on the disability claim, minimize time claimants are out of work and get them to return to work early. After all, the employer needs the intellectual capital of the person that's out.
I&T: What technology do you think would really benefit the group insurance practice?
JH: The lack of standardization around technology surprised me. I worked at the annuities biz at Pru for a number of years, and before that in the brokerage industry for mutual funds and annuities. We standardized through things like DTCC [Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation] to exchange data between fund and annuities insurance managers. Getting data [in the group world] is really a chore because you're getting it in all those proprietary formats. I would support a group working to build standards there.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio