Enterprising Developments

More Responsive IT Key to AIG-Chartis' Recovery Plan

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, December 16, 2010

As recently reported here at INN, Chartis, the flagship property/casualty insurance arm of American International Group (AIG), has had some tough times lately, and continues to restructure its operations in efforts to streamline and boost profitability.

Part of this restructuring has been an overhaul of the company's IT infrastructure—always a source of potential expenses that could be a potential revenue driver. In fact, Abe Naguib, director of global performance architecture and infrastructure engineering at AIG-Chartis, estimates that streamlining and enhancing IT operations already underway has helped the company recoup about $127 million in infrastructure savings so far. How did they do it? Naguib recently sat down with Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, for a revealing discussion on his strategy for more efficient delivery of IT services.

Naguib recognized at the outset that too many issues were cropping up in applications after they were released into production, resulting in countless hours, or even days, of revisions and delays. Plus, there was a wall between the business and IT professionals that inhibited communications about technology needs and priorities.

When things did go wrong, the problem was compounded by an abundance of finger-pointing and organizational inertia. That's because too many people were involved in the process, which slowed down everything from development to operations.

“We realized that the faster we resolved issues, the faster to market, the faster we can address things, the less disruption to the delivery practices,” Naguib says. “In normal firefighting mode, architecture is involved, development is involved and infrastructure is involved. What ends up happening is there are too many people involved. We're all scrambling, pointing fingers and looking at logs. So, we figured that the faster we get to resolution, the better for everyone to continue the train on the track.”

Naguib formed a response team, consisting of architects and DBAs, who could quickly drop in and resolve issues. “We're currently a one-army team, like paratroopers. We're multi-skilled, from architecture, to performance, to support, and we drive resolution in the organization.”

Along with more nimble and agile teams, Naguib has worked to build better working relationships between IT teams and business managers. The result is what he calls "escalator messages”: in 60 seconds or less, “talk to a CIO, CTO, COO or CFO about our strategy and how we can help them shift from the firefighting mode to more of an architecture mode."

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 (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Smarter Tablet Use Could Transform Insurance

By reducing administrative tasks and automating paperwork, tablets can increase agentsí selling time and help them respond to customers in seconds, not hours.

Insurance Wake-Up Call: Embrace the Shared Economy Opportunities

SMA believes that insurers must embrace a "shared economy," crowdsourcing and open innovation to get ahead in the new marketplace.

Silicon Valley Ventures

A trip to area hotbed of technological innovation calls into question the potential viability of insurers' legacy systems, operations and processes.

The Lion and the Mouse: Start-ups Pitch to Top Insurer

Insurers should be on the lookout for innovative partnership arrangements that produce unique and valuable solutions.

Open Source Continues its March into the Enterprise

Insurers have a range of open-source options for running their businesses.

Sometimes The Best Way to Speed Up is to Slow Down

Insurers across all lines of business increasingly recognize that their core systems are not able to properly position them to deal with imminent competitive threats.