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Deborah Smallwood Takes CIO Job

The former TowerGroup analyst will drive a comprehensive, technology-fueled transformation of San Diego-based Insurance Company of the West.

After about a decade working as a consultant and analyst, Deborah Smallwood has returned to the insurance carrier side. Upon beginning her new role as chief transformation officer at privately held P&C insurer ICW Group (Insurance Company of the West; San Diego), the former managing director of TowerGroup's Insurance Research & Consulting Practice felt immediately connected to the experiences of the nearly 20 years she spent in Liberty Mutual's (Boston) IT organization. "It all came back," she reports.

Part of Smallwood's sense of dj' vu had to do with her sudden re-engagement with the perennial questions faced by a senior insurance technology officer. "It's all about risk management and project management," she remarks. But if the questions are the same, recent advances in technology suggest different answers today, she hastens to add.

In that respect the job offer from ICW Group was hard to resist because the carrier's plans tracked closely with the recommendations TowerGroup had been making for the property/casualty industry. "Their strategies were what we had been predicting," she says.

Smallwood explains that her title reflects a role somewhat broader than a CIO's. As chief transformation officer she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the insurer's IT operations but will also spearhead a comprehensive transformation effort at ICW Group. "We're launching five strategic initiatives this year: underwriting, predictive analytics, data, claims and enterprise content management," Smallwood says.

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

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