For the past few years, the insurance industry has made great strides towards transforming digitally. And, women have played a significant role in riding these waves of growth, taking the industry to new heights. By bringing new ways of thinking and innovation to the table, they have become powerful players within the industry. One such woman we at CIO Look, came across is Yanna Winter.
Yanna serves as the CIO for Generali UK and Generali Corporate and Commercial. Her role includes the depth of breadth of IT – spanning transformation, projects, and running services. The ownership of the responsibilities and the complex job is what keeps her interested and motivated.
Yanna is a strategy and technology expert with extensive IT experience. She has a strong track record and an established reputation in leading and delivering large-scale transformations.
Inspired by her passion for IT, we got into conversation with Yanna to learn more about her journey.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Tell us something more about Generali GC&C, which are your mission and vision.
Generali Global Corporate & Commercial (GC&C) offers P&C insurance and service solutions to medium-large companies and brokers in over 160 countries around the world. Thanks to its solid global experience, knowledge of the local markets and the corporate sector, the unit offers integrated and personalized solutions in property, casualty, engineering, marine, aviation, cyber e specialty risks. Through its experts in Multinational Programs, Claims and Loss Prevention, GC&C guarantees companies the same level of assistance and protection over the world.
We actively enhance, protect and help people’s businesses to succeed, adding value beyond the policy
Our mission is to be the best provider of services and insurance solutions for medium- and large-sized companies. We challenge established industry practices, generating value and delivering relevant, accessible insurance solutions.
What challenges did you overcome to reach where you are today?
The main challenges have been:
- Always link IT delivery to business success.
- Keep up to date with technology advancements.
- Build the necessary IT infrastructure, data model to enable this
- Build reputation through these steps — promise, deliver, repeat.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
I often describe our IT strategy as divide, conquer and integrate. It is our duty to enable the current business and keep the foundations for future innovation and scalability.
Currently we are in the second half of a major 6-year IT Transformation Programme. The phases of modernisation are: (1) integration and security, (2) infrastructure, (3) financial integration and data & analytics, (4) applications.
It is of paramount importance to be clear about the business needs (both current and future) as well as what is available as solutions – in the IT industry as well as IT solutions available elsewhere in Generali Group.
What role does IT and innovation play in your corporate strategy?
IT and innovation are key elements for our success and evolution.
Data are key to support decison making and enable operating and financial efficiency (data driven decision framework).
- Consolidate Global Platforms, upgrading user experience and simplifying current landscape
- Launch global smart AI automation program and AA (Advanced Analytics) Predictive Modelling at scale and consolidate Data Stewardship Model
- Improve local operational efficiency: e.g. process simplification and waste reduction, systems integration, organizational fragmentation and not value adding activities reduction, central synergies.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the Finance industry?
Simplification of IT change delivery is a key topic in the finance industry. The usual frameworks for change need a change – simplify the steps; focus on what is important; interlock IT change and with business change. Most of all, ensure program delivery is achieved on an incremental basis, moving the business through islands of stability.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Insurance industry? How is Generali GC&C preparing to be a part of that change?
We need to take care of the entire ecosystem in insurance – to enable it and to protect it (e.g. from security threats). This informs key IT decisions on data, applications, integration and security.
We value our people. We treat the employees as customers. One of the key goals of our IT Transformation is to improve and simplify the user experience of our own employees – they are the people using the IT solutions on a daily basis.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals in your role?
In the long run, I’d like to continue my role as a Chief Information Officer – it is exciting and challenging, it is a fundamental role in the insurance industry.
It is key to contribute to community, education, women in technology. This is personally important to me.
In insurance, I’d like to further contribute to transformation for simplicity and flexibility.
What would be your advice to budding new joiners who aspire to venture into the insurance business sector?
Try to understand clients’ needs and “speak their language”. Be aware of key business strategies metrics.
Know how technology can enable the business. Know the IT metrics. Measure expectations and delivery against them. Benchmark yourself and learn from the feedback.
Be honest and open. Keep an open mind. Respect other people’s opinions.