Kae Lovaas, recently named senior vice president, US operations for The St. Paul Companies, has seen technology change the way insurance operates during her 20-year career at The St. Paul.
"When I started as an underwriter, the business was without many options," says Lovaas, who most recently ran the firm's Global Technology Underwriting unit as president. "Because we are now more customer focused, products are more complex, and have more options," mainly because technology makes it possible, she adds.
Her challenge, according to Lovaas, is to keep up with the pace of technology change and harness all of the company's data and turn it into useful information. "Companies used to use technology to pave the cow path," she says, referring to the fact that insurers commonly implemented new technology but stayed with older business processes. "Now we are improving the business process by using technology to provide automation to the underwriting process."
With a mostly business-oriented background, Lovaas says she will be able to translate business unit needs into understandable technology goals. Her understanding will be important, as she will be working to ensure that underwriting practices and systems are efficient. "I'll be looking at ways to leverage each of the business units' strengths across the enterprise," she says. "During the next two months I'll be doing a lot of listening and learning by speaking with the business units, the IT people, the underwriters and the agents. After that, I expect that in the coming year we should be able come up with effective and efficient back-office underwriting systems," she adds.
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