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Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Oracle's Hurd Gets Tough Questions from Insurers

At the company's Financial Services and Insurance Forum this morning, insurers pressed the Oracle president for specifics on his commitment to the industry.

Most of the morning presentations at Oracle's Financial Services & Insurance Forum, held today at the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York's Times Square, focused on the company's banking capabilities. Frank Brienzi, SVP and GM of the vendor's Financial Services Business Unit, mentioned a claims implementation at Harvard Pilgrim, and a project with an unnamed "top insurer in the world," but little else specific to insurance, instead focusing on the successes of the company's core banking product.

Following Brienzi, company president Mark Hurd spoke in general terms about financial services with a bank-centric bent. But when he opened the floor for questions, the first question was pointed: "We know you're a leader in banking… But when will you stand up there and tell us you're a leader in insurance?"

Hurd quickly turned the question over to Brienzi, who answered, "I wish we could talk more about what we're doing with one of the largest insurers in the world, but it's significant and will evolve over the next 18 months."

When Brienzi compared the development process of the Oracle product with the unnamed carrier to the process by which it developed its banking software, and Hurd seized on that for his own answer.

"We want to build something with a customer that can be commodified and sold 100 more times," Hurd said. "Sending developers into a room and saying, 'Build this and they will come,' is not typically as good a strategy as doing something with a customer."

After the exchange, Hurd took a couple more questions, before another audience member turned the conversation back to insurance. "Can you give us any insights into Oracle's strategy in health insurance?" she asked.

Hurd again tossed the question to Brienzi, who reiterated the company's success with Harvard Pilgrim and said that the evolution of healthcare reform implementation provided the company an opportunity.

"That is one area where we're going to continue to make significant investments," Brienzi said. "We're going to do a lot of dynamic things with our field team, even more than the banking

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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