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Where Are They Now? 2011's Elite 8 Continue To Hone Digital Capabilities

As mobile and digital technologies continue to reshape the insurance industry, Insurance & Technology caught up with some of the 2011 Elite 8 to see how the changing expectations of consumers, employees and partners are transforming their focus.
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Good Listeners

Annabelle Bexiga, Senior Managing Director and CIO, TIAA-CREF

Annabelle Bexiga had been senior managing director and CIO of TIAA-CREF for a little more than a year when she won the Elite 8 honor in 2011. In that short time, she had driven an initiative that shortened IT project life cycles and increased speed to market for the firm's life insurance, annuities and other financial products. She also was working to complete a upgrade of TIAA-CREF's network by the end of 2011.

In the past year, Bexiga says, completing a significant IT transformation program aimed at building more flexibility and sophistication into TIAA-CREF's infrastructure has been a major focus for her technology team. "It has significantly enhanced our technology services and web experience," she explains. "This has enabled us to now focus on delivering innovative digital business solutions and client capabilities to our customers. ... The lines have blurred between technology, sales and marketing. Our IT transformation is designed to make all these functions work together more seamlessly."

Through this transformation, Bexiga adds, she has seen her role shift to more cross-functional responsibilities. "It is critical for me to understand the goals of our marketing and sales organizations and determine ways my team can support those goals through tech innovation," she acknowledges.

The transformation required Bexiga's team to build various mobile apps for its clients in order to deliver a simplified, on-the-go customer experience. "We have been focusing on giving our clients specific tools to better access their account information wherever and whenever they need it," she relates.

During the next year, Bexiga says, she will continue to stay on top of technology trends and changing customer expectations. "We are geared to listen to our customers, which is what led us to expand on the mobile front," she remarks. "Social media is a great platform for learning about what works for our customers and what doesn't. It helps shape what we're doing to better serve the client, so we plan to use social listening more moving forward."

[TIAA-CREF CIO Annabelle Bexiga An Immediate Change Agent]

Peggy Bresnick Kendler has been a writer for 30 years. She has worked as an editor, publicist and school district technology coordinator. During the past decade, Bresnick Kendler has worked for UBM TechWeb on special financialservices technology-centered ... View Full Bio

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