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New Unum CIO Kathy Owen Builds Upon Success

A series of challenging technology and business experiences, culminating in the rollout of the Simply Unum product and service platform, have prepared newly appointed Unum CIO Kathy Owen for future accomplishments.

The August 2007 rollout of Simply Unum, disability insurer Unum Group's (Chattanooga, Tenn.; $51.9 billion in 2005 assets) integrated product and service platform could be described as the jewel in the crown of newly appointed Unum CIO Kathy Owen's technology leadership achievements. Since joining the Provident Companies (later merged with Unum) as a programmer right after college, she has been involved in several highly consequential projects, including development of a ground-breaking field automation system, a core system replacement and two major M&A initiatives. However, Owen thinks of Simply Unum as a starting point as much as a culmination, both for her and for the roughly 400 professionals of the Unum technology team whom she credits for the two-year initiative's success.

"Success breeds success, we hope," muses Owen. "But I think success also creates an environment where people become very creative, and that is something that I'm seeing a great deal of in the company right now."

Seen as the foundation for future growth, Simply Unum has served as a catalyst for change that has helped to set Owen's agenda as CIO. "One of our key areas of focus in the coming year will be to formalize around an enterprise architecture that will drive technology strategy for the next few years," she says. "We will work on internal processes because I firmly believe that the secret to success right now is greater standardization."

Owen will also focus on a sourcing strategy that ensures that Unum has the right people for the job ahead. Key to that objective is the establishing of the carrier's fourth development site, in Carlow, Republic of Ireland. "That will give us another place to recruit for our employee-based workforce," Owen explains. "We also have a very strong relationship with one of the Indian offshore companies that we will continue to leverage."

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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