Enterprising Developments

How Chubb's IT Unit Initiated Innovation

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, June 6, 2013

Every insurance organization likely has enlightened individuals who have new ideas on how to build new markets. And technology is paving the way to finally capture this hidden knowledge.

In a new article in MIT Sloan Management Review, Michael Fitzgerald (contributing editor to SMR, not to be confused with Celent's Michael Fitzgerald) spoke to Chubb's innovation team about what it takes to turn a huge specialty insurer around and make it more responsive to changing customer demands.

A few years ago, rather than managing along with dictates from its New York headquarters, Chubb embarked on an effort to spark innovation among its regional and branch offices. The insurer, which underwrites risk in niche markets such as clean tech, life sciences and medical devices, realized it needed to move faster with innovations in its product offerings if it was going to keep up.

Enter IT.

As Fitzgerald reports, Chubb's IT department took the reigns of the project and built a social business platform to connect people and ideas. The social platform also is deployed to support internal innovation events, which bring together up to 10,000 people, including independent brokers and agents.

“We’ve discovered that the best ideas, or idea fragments, come from the people closest to the customer and broker, usually inversely related to title,” Gerry Myers, VP of global innovation for Chubb, is quoted as saying. “We’re finding that sales representatives or office clerks are probably in the best position to know where the pain points are of people you’re trying to sell policies to.”

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (1)


Completely agree having innovation led by field personnel produces the better result. We've written extensively on how to structure and execute innovation in our blog,


Interesting article, thanks.

Posted by: Richard E | June 7, 2013 10:36 AM

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