Spencer Stuart: Leading Technology Change in the Insurance Industry

While the insurance sector may have historically been perceived as slow to change relative to other industries, leading insurers are increasingly recognizing that they must embrace technology — and quickly.

Spencer Stuart research into technology function leaders at 51 insurers listed among the Fortune 500 largest companies in the United States points to this change. Since 2017, 55% of the insurers with a CIO position made a change in the group-level CIO position; 20% did so in the last 18 months alone. Furthermore, an industry known for looking inward to fill top roles is increasingly looking not just outside company walls for new candidates, but also searching outside the industry itself; half of CIOs were hired externally, and the CIOs who have been in their role for fewer than three years are twice as likely to have come from outside the industry. Overall, the average CIO’s tenure is 4.7 years.

To explore these stark trends of high rates of leadership turnover and the industry’s push to move ahead on the technology curve, we spoke with three of the insurance industry’s technology leaders driving change in their companies. A few key themes emerged from the discussions:

  • technology is having a growing impact on the insurance sector
  • to succeed, insurers must make a cultural commitment to technology
  • building the right team is of the utmost importance.

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Eric T. Zakre
Thought leadership category