With an eye toward delivering the best customer service in the industry, group life and disability writer Standard Insurance, a subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group (Portland, Ore.; $9.9 billion in assets) has named John Bernard senior vice president of operational excellence. In the newly created position, Bernard will oversee the company's IT division and will be responsible for ensuring the alignment of systems and processes with Standard's business strategy.
Bernard's appointment sprang out of a consulting engagement last fall between Standard and Capabiliti Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based operations management and development consultancy that Bernard founded. "I was doing some work with the management team, looking at various opportunities within the company to excel and drive forward the company's agenda of providing extraordinary service to customers," says Bernard. "Standard realizes that in the years ahead, what will make the difference is going to be who wins on the customer service front."
Bernard, who will stand above an existing vice president of IT in the chain of command, believes that his position's combination of IT and process responsibilities makes good sense. "An organization is a complex integration of technology, humanity and process, and I think that requires a different skill set than a traditional CIO might have brought to the table," he submits. "What we're trying to do is move up strategy to a holistic view, looking at the total customer experience and developing our ability to cost-effectively deliver the best customer service in the industry."
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