July 17, 2007

Before the industrial revolution, summer tended to be the time for campaigning -- the military kind, not the political kind which now lasts multiple years, let alone seasons -- and intense agricultural activity. No doubt the farmers are still on a more demanding schedule this time of year, but when it comes to the insurance industry, summer is a time of relative repose. It doesn't rival the last couple of weeks in the year for quiet, but with the spring trade show cycle past and vacations depleting staff, it's a close second.That's not to say the summer isn't a good time to pick up some insurance technology-related activities. Last year we saw a rash of M&A activity among industry vendors, and we may yet see a smaller spike before the autumnal equinox. This year we've seen some shifts in leadership at some of the bigger carriers.

MetLife's Jeff Stoll has retired from his Individual Business CIO role to be replaced by Larry Blakeman, who formerly held the CIO job for MetLife Auto & Home, the carrier's personal lines P&C division. Blakeman has been replaced in turn by Rich Calogero.

A recent e-mail exchange with State Farm's Dick Shellito resulted in his informing me that he had stepped down as CIO. My media relations contact Dick Luedke explained the shift. "Dick Shellito has taken on a new role involving integrated business strategies over a wider area of our company than just IT," he said. "Mark Oakley will now head up the IT area."

Replacing Ken Auman, who retired earlier this year, Gary Plotkin has become CIO of The Hartford's P&C company. Plotkin sees his new role as a progression from his last, as expressed during a phone conversation with Insurance & Technology yesterday. "As the CTO, responsible for infrastructure, architecture and support functions over the last two-and-a-half years, I've been able to develop a solid foundation as well as an overall architectural strategy and delivery the bulk of the components of that strategy," he said. "Now as CIO I can help to deliver against those, to take a lot of that strategy work and actually move it into implementation and align it with the business' vision in an early fashion."

Posted by Anthony O'Donnell

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 ...