Building a better society: an interview with LV CIO Richard Warner

By Graeme Burton
14 Nov 2012 View Comments
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LV, the trading name of the venerable Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, might sound like a stuffy organisation, but it certainly showed more technological and business nous than the company that shares its initials – Louis Vitton, the litigious luxury goods brand.

Further reading

Louis Vitton had taken action against a US company for the domain name, from which the US firm had planned to run a Las Vegas-focused portal, claiming that it was cyber squatting. When Louis Vitton lost, Liverpool Victoria nipped in and bought the domain name from the US company, trumping Louis Vitton.

That cheeky move was central to the 2007 re-branding of the 169-year-old society which, underneath its modern exterior, runs a variety of legacy and modern systems to support its two main business units – general insurance and life insurance – with some shared systems in the middle to cover such common functions as finance and human resources.

However, in recent years the company has rolled out a number of new systems and is now looking towards cloud computing as a potential platform of the future.

Bold claims

“We have just finished imple-menting a claims management system, a package from a company called Guidewire,” says LV CIO Richard Warner.

“For a general insurance business, claims management is part of your lifeblood. The ‘moment of truth’ for an insurer is when you pay claims. It’s also where most of your income gets spent because some 70 to 80 pence in the pound of incoming premiums goes back out the door in claims,” says Warner. “We implemented it last year in the ‘home’ part of the business and we have just gone live with it in the ‘motor’ part of our general insurance business.”

Given its importance, the implementation of the claims management system has dominated a good two years of Warner’s life. But its rollout, though, proceeded “on budget and on schedule”.

He adds: “A lot of our legacy claims and policy administration is on an in-house built system, which runs on the mainframe. And then we have a smattering of smaller packages for different lines of business. I would say that it’s about a 50-50 split between packaged and in-house built applications.

“The life insurance business is a bit different, though. That’s between 20 and 30 per cent packaged and about 70 to 80 per cent in-house built. That’s partly due to the history of the life insurance business in general – it’s not just us. It was frag-mented with lots of different products that all grew up on different platforms,” he says.

At the same time, Warner has also been working on a project to shift the company across to a new telephony system, based on the Avaya digital platform. “We have taken about five million calls on the new platform this year and, touch wood, we have not had a prob-lem since it went live,” he says.

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