Electronic Chat: Gary H. Ouellette
Robert Regis Hyle | November 24, 2014
The Electronic Chat is a regular feature of ITA Pro magazine and itapro.org. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leaders looking for thought-provoking responses on important issue facing the insurance industry.
This month we chat with Gary H. Ouellette, senior vice president, operations, Union Mutual of Vermont Companies. He is the executive with responsibility for operations, information technology, enterprise risk management, and corporate strategic planning.
What is the biggest leadership challenge you face in IT and how do you deal with it?
OUELLETTE: Talent management, which includes both creating the best experience for and results from our current employees, along with finding and attracting excellent new talent or, as we say, “having the right people in the right positions, doing the right things” is top of mind for me. I believe we need to expend at least as much if not more energy on people management as we do on technology management. Anyone can buy great technology; very few can attract and maintain great employees and teams. Management by walking around is a key success factor for us.
What technologies do you feel are under-used in the insurance industry today?
OUELLETTE: While much growth is happening around data driven analytics I believe there are still far too few companies with mature analytical programs. With the expansion of SaaS, I see analytics as a service becoming more prevalent for organizations that traditionally couldn’t afford the software and personnel to develop effective in-house analysis programs. An organization without data driven decision making in today’s business climate risks missing emerging risks and won’t catch emerging trends and thus will lose out on valuable opportunities.
How satisfied are you with your relationship with the business side and how could it be improved?
OUELLETTE: Very satisfied. It all stems from a philosophical change we made a few years back when we put a big part of the discretionary IT budget back into the business unit’s control. From there we empowered the business to have an active voice in what IT expends its energies on. Think of it as “real-time executive steering committee.” It is effective and very responsive to changing business needs.
What are your greatest concerns for the future and how can technology help alleviate those concerns?
OUELLETTE: Staying relevant in a changing consumer insurance marketplace is my greatest concern. The very nature of insurance demands we create seamless, easy transactional experiences for our users and consumers. But the real winners will be those who combine that with truly educating the consumer on the products, thus empowering the consumer through knowledge, not the fluffy stuff we see on prime time television but truly educating the consumer so their expectations are directly in line with their eventual experiences. Technology is the perfect platform to serve this up in a very cost effective manner 7x24x365 in many forms to meet many different consumer styles.
What changes do you see taking place in IT over the course of the next five years?
OUELLETTE: Clouds on the horizon. The biggest change I see is we will no longer own hardware. By that I mean we as an industry will no longer buy, lease or rent IT hardware beyond the absolute minimum required to access the Internet. Beyond that SaaS and other Internet-based services will be the de facto standard across the insurance space. I see our people as becoming much more focused on vendor and relationship management along with technology integration. Lastly, as I tell my team we will need to be consultants and subject matter experts on how technology can improve the experience and results for the business and their clients. It will be so much more than the traditional model of helpdesk and networking administration. Much more enabling and architecting with deep understanding of technology application to real world business opportunities.
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- 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
- Steve Kronsnoble Joins CastleBay Companies as Insurance Principal Consultant
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Instec Expands Insurance Expertise with Hiring of Industry Veteran CJ Lotter
- Group Insurers Investing in Tech to Drive Customer Acquisition and Retention, Says Novarica
- RLI Selects DataCubes to Optimize Certain Underwriting Processes
- Reinsurance Software WebXL Version 4.3 Released by Prima Solutions-Effisoft Group
- Direct Online Could Grow to 12% of Small Commercial Insurance Market by 2023, Says Novarica
- David Fisher joins FRISS board as non-executive member
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 LIVE 2019
The tide is up! It's time to register for ITA LIVE 2019, our annual educational and networking conference! Our theme is "The InsurTech Revolution: Cutting Through the Hype." and we'll be bringing in a torrent of industry thought leaders, amazing insight and wonderful perspectives on the world of insurtech and its impact on the insurance landscape.
ITA LIVE 2019 will present real-life examples of true startup technologies that are helping insurers gain real advantage -- and a competitive edge -- in the marketplace. We’ll highlight the more successful InsurTech partnerships, while offering case studies that demonstrate exciting innovation and cutting-edge techniques impacting all aspects of the insurance ecosystem.
Ride the wave to LIVE 2019. Sign up today! We look forward to seeing you in May, 2019!
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
This month, the ITA celebrates Insurance Careers Month and encourages carriers, brokers, agents and our industry associations to plan their own... READ MORE
Customization in the general sense has a very positive connotation. However, in the world of software systems, customization quite often falls short... 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