Electronic Chat: Arne Herenstein
Robert Regis Hyle | September 09, 2014
The Electronic Chat is a regular feature of ITA Pro magazine and the ITApro.org website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader and look for thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
This issue, we chat with Arne Herenstein, who has served as senior vice president and CIO of Harleysville Insurance for the last three years. Prior to joining Harleysville, Herenstein worked as a vice president of information technology with OneBeacon Insurance for 10 years. Earlier in his career, Herenstein served in IT leadership positions with at CIGNA, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Royal Insurance.
Herenstein holds a bachelor’s degree from The City College of New York and a master’s degree in business administration from St. John’s University.
What is the biggest leadership challenge you face in IT and how do you deal with it?
HERENSTEIN: My greatest leadership challenge is to develop and maintain a highly technically competent, as well as extremely business knowledgeable, IT team. The rate of technology change continues at a very rapid pace. More products are available via cloud/shared service than ever. Package products are becoming ready for use, particularly in commodity businesses. The challenge is to keep the team learning and growing while at the same time delivering products rapidly, with high quality, and in the right price range. Shifting from a custom build environment to package/cloud solutions is a challenge.
What technologies do you feel are under-used in the insurance industry today?
HERENSTEIN: Even though we are in the data business, I think we are under using the massive stores of information available today. So much data is collected and maintained about our markets, the insureds, properties, vehicles. We could make far greater use of that data for policy process functions, underwriting, claims, and other services we provide. Using public data to fill out forms and applications could reduce the administrative burden significantly.
How satisfied are you with the relationship between the business side and IT?
HERENSTEIN: I am very satisfied with the relationship with the business. We work as a team to provide an outstanding experience for our agents and policyholders. Our team works closely to identify the needs of the business, develops plans, budgets, and priorities, and designs and implements the solutions as a team. By maintaining this methodology, we find that we achieve a greater rate of success as we typically work on the things that have the greatest importance and/or impact.
What are your greatest concerns with the way the IT department currently operates?
HERENSTEIN: My greatest concern is transitioning from the old ways to the new ones as the rate of technological change continues at such a rapid pace. We have many platforms (and teams that support them) that were written years ago. This creates two problems of technical debt and it keeps some associates bound to older technologies. I do not think we move people in and out of these groups regularly enough to insure that we don’t end up with single person dependency or we exclude individuals from technical growth.
How will the operation of your IT department change over the next five years?
HERENSTEIN: Over the next five years I expect that the IT department will change to adjust to the increased use of cloud services, Software as a Service, package solutions, the Internet of Things, and increased cost pressures. We will begin to become expert more at configuration, integration and service layers than one-off development. We have progressed from binary programming to class libraries, to data translation. IT relies on this change to bring continuous improvement to their business partners
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Tower Selects EIS Group’s Insurance Platform to Drive Transformation
- NTUC Income Selects Majesco Distribution Management and Majesco Digital Solutions to Advance its Distribution Management Operation
- Emerson Reid Modernizes Its Business Processes With VUE Software
- Octo Telematics Powers CAA MyPace™ Pay-As-You-Go Program
- Announcing the Solartis Insure Microservice Hackathon
- DataCubes Completes Plug and Play Tech Accelerator Program
- Medical Mutual of Ohio Implements One Inc Digital Payments
- SUNZ Insurance in Production with Sapiens’ Workers’ Compensation CompSuite® Policy System
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA is pleased to present the 2014 Webinar Series. We have many topics for you to choose from and attendance is open to all ITA members. The webinar topics are current and exciting — ranging from predictive analytics to telematics and will focus on the direction insurance carriers need to follow for the future. All webinars are presented by insurance IT professionals along with some of the leading analysts and consultants in the field. There is no cost to attend an ITA webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, click the “title” of the webinar below.
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
It has become a common refrain over the past few years to view the practice of enterprise architecture (EA) as something that time has passed by, much... READ MORE
One important trend in society over the past decade is our increasing ability to create and consume a seemingly unlimited amount of digital content... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
Fraud detection has always been and will continue to be a critical component of claims management. Learning the lessons from current claims Straight... READ MORE
- Vendor Views