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New Harleysville CIO Focuses on the 'Intersection of Service and Profitability'

Former OneBeacon VP Arne Herenstein will shepherd in-flight claims and billing system implementations, boost existing analytic capabilities and leverage a very strong IT team to pursue differentiation by superior service.

Arne Herenstein
Arne Herenstein
Newly appointed Harleysville Insurance (Harleysville, Pa.) CIO Arne Herenstein acknowledges a certain luxury in arriving at the helm of an IT organization that not only consists of a strong team of professionals but that has also recently implemented up-to-date core policy administration systems and capabilities. However, an insurance carrier CIO's work is never done, and Herenstein says that he will be focused on implementation of downstream systems, including claims and billing, as well as driving advancement of Harleysville's already considerable analytics capabilities and driving ever-higher levels of service to distributors and end customers.

"This is a service-based industry, and better service means better processes, greater ease-of-doing-business, and greater likelihood insureds and agents will be happy to stay with you," Herenstein comments. "We'll take a broad view across the agent, consumer and company points of view to focus our efforts on where service and profitability intersect."

Herenstein comes to Harleysville after about a decade at OneBeacon Insurance (Minnetonka, Minn.), where he served first as an external consultant and later as a senior technology executive. Over a career that included positions with PricewaterhouseCoopers, CIGNA and Royal Insurance, Herenstein says he has learned a great deal about the processes that make for the greatest ease-of-doing business.

"I have a good sense how to make things easier for the associates of the company, for distributors, end customers, and other stakeholders," he says.

Herenstein says that analyzing existing processes at Harleysville is key to developing further advances in service. He says it will be important to collect metrics on a variety of fronts, including budget currently expended on service, cycle time for products, and also service availability and response times.

"We need to assess whether various features are available [to agents and end-customers] and if not, we must ask what changes do we have to make in order to make them available," Herenstein elaborates. "The ability to rapidly respond to market changes will be a differentiating factor for success."

Harleysville already has scheduled implementations of new capabilities associated with Guidewire (San Mateo, Calif.) ClaimCenter and >BillingCenter systems, Herenstein reports.

"The ClaimCenter implementation is already in progress and the billing will start shortly," Herenstein says.

Herenstein says that Harleysville already boasts strong predictive modeling capabilities but says that the technology assets that the company already possesses can be driven further, and that like other companies, Harleysville is in pursuit of the "Holy Grail" of the perfect data model.

"There's always an opportunity to think of things in new ways," remarks Herenstein. "There's also the opportunity to examine our data, and clear up all the 'sins' of the past so that they don't get passed on."

Herenstein expresses strong confidence in Harleysville's IT organization's ability to take on the challenges he envisions.

"Harleysville is very fortunate to have such a solid and talented team," he comments. "I've been pleasantly surprised at the technical proficiency the team demonstrates — they are more advanced in Java and other technologies than large company teams I've seen recently. I am confident that this team is a good one to take Harleysville to new and better places."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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