CIO50 2019: #19 Michael Eksteen, Chubb Insurance
Since joining Chubb in May 2016, Michael Eksteen has built Chubb Digital from the ground up.
From concept to creation, Chubb Digital now operates as an integrated digital unit in Asia Pacific, tasked with transforming insurance from product-focused to customer-first.
As Vice President of Digital, Eksteen’s remit included the development of the Chubb Asia Pacific digitalisation vision, business strategy and core team. This included responsibility for architecting and developing the Chubb API and cloud infrastructure, digital products and new digital economy partner on-boarding strategy which included Uber, DBS, Grab.
The innovation originated from a need by the company to transform the existing legacy business into a digitally integrated one. According to Eksteen, the objective “was and still is” end-to-end digitalisation and simplification of the insurance product process.
This means assuming responsibility for the full life cycle, spanning new policy sales to servicing and claims.
According to Eksteen, the notion of ‘unique’ innovation doesn’t exist, with the deployment and packaging of the innovation key to “making a difference”.
Specific to Chubb, and through a digital-first approach, the business on-boarded best of breed partners also operating within the digital ecosystem, such as Grab and DBS.
Despite success, Eksteen acknowledged that transforming legacy businesses is a disruptive endeavour in large corporate environments in which the systems in place previously served a “very meaningful and profitable purpose”. Therefore, digital leaders must overcome large portions of the business which “do not see the need for change”, especially if ‘change’ is a moving and abstract target.
In response, Eksteen and his team tackled the “unsexy” areas of transformation, from structure, operations and back-end IT to culture and way of thinking, spanning the entire organisation.