CIO on being a first-timer in insurance

CIO on being a first-timer in insurance | Insurance Business New Zealand

CIO on being a first-timer in insurance

Entering the insurance world for the first time can be daunting, but according to one CIO, its complexity can also make for a highly enjoyable challenge.

Nathan Pilgrim (pictured), chief information officer at Gallagher Bassett came into his role in August 2018, having never worked in the insurance space before. He was recognised on the 2019 CIO50 list, which identifies executives who have driven “significant technology-led innovations” within their companies, and he says the key to achieving success in insurance is to come in with an open mind, and to learn as much as possible from the get-go.

“I’ve been at Gallagher Bassett for about 18 months, and this was my first job in insurance,” Pilgrim told Insurance Business.

“I’d had extensive experience in wealth management and superannuation, and I’ve had a varied career across a number of different industries – private education, engineering, professional services, etc.”

“It was a very steep learning curve, and it was really all about how I could apply the principles and knowledge I had to the insurance industry,” he explained.

“The challenge with Gallagher Bassett is also that they have quite a wide breadth of services – they don’t just do general insurance, so there are a number of different lines of business each with their own complexities. Getting across all of those and learning the insurance market wasn’t easy, but it was definitely very enjoyable.”

Pilgrim says that from a technology perspective, a large insurance company like Gallagher Bassett presents an exciting opportunity to deliver a whole host of different innovations, and when it comes to learning about the business it pays to seek both internal and external expertise.

“To anyone stepping into insurance, I’d say be open to it, learn as much as you can about the sector and the organisation you’re in, build those relationships and connections across the company and get feedback around what’s working well and what isn’t.”

“I also spent a fair bit of time working with our Gallagher Bassett customers, so reaching out to the customer directly is very beneficial,” he added. “From a technology perspective, you get to experience all the end-user solutions, and you can equally support all the internal technology, so my role is quite exciting from both of those sides.”