Lloyd's of London CIO Jennifer Rigby has revealed how the organisation has put technology and IT at the heart of its strategy in order to facilitate innovation at the 300-year-old insurance company.

Speaking at the 2017 CIO Summit, Rigby explained how the centuries-old institution had a history of innovation and would continue to embrace emerging technologies.

"Lloyd's is actually the world's specialist insurance market. We've been pioneering insurance for 328 years," she said at the May Fair Hotel in London. Rigby quipped that as the organisation was founded in 1686, they had a very real understanding of the term legacy.

Lloyd's has also added cyber insurance as one of the emerging markets it is now involved in.

"We're now the global centre for cyber insurance and we've also got a reputation of trust and providing protection to individuals and business helping communities get back on their feet, as quickly as they possibly can," Rigby said.

The CIO said that Lloyd's of London has paved a clear vision for 2025, which sees IT at the heart of its business strategy.

"We are always focused on the future, we have our vision for 2025 firmly in place and with that we're looking forward to making a number of new milestones in the future. We know that IT has a massive part to play in terms of how we do business, how we work with our customers, as well as providing the infrastructure and allowing that access to the global market," Rigby said.

"Specifically in our vision for 2025, we talk about our capability and our reputation for innovation. We know again as IT that technology will play a massive part, in realising some of these areas of the vision."

Business strategy

Rigby, who joined as the CIO of Lloyd's of London in May 2017, discussed the importance of IT in the organisation. She explained how technology is transforming its financial services, and also how IT transformation provided the platform for innovation at Lloyd's of London.

"Our strategy at the moment is very focused on transforming ourselves in IT and putting us in the best place to support the corporation, to support the market, to support our customers," Rigby said.

"Then I see that strategy rapidly starting to evolve, once we put some of those steps in place in IT, to become a much more business-focused IT strategy because that's where we need to get to really understand what our part to play is in the organisation.

"In terms of why we want to transform IT, a lot of that is around fixing some of the problems that we have, looking at the legacy issues, security is massively important. We are a regulator and providing assurance that we are looking after our customers, our business and the market data, intellectual properties are massively important to us and cost reduction as with everyone."

Emerging technologies

Rigby said that IoT, robotics and artificial intelligence were some of the emerging technologies Lloyd's of London was investigating, and that the organisation was encouraging other financial services companies to do the same.

Lloyd's of London CIO Jennifer Rigby at the 2017 CIO Summit

"We're looking at robotics; automation is a real push for us," she said. "We're also looking at redesigning some of our systems where things like semantic analysis and disambiguation could really help with the core format of that data. It's helped us from a strategic perspective as well.

"The other one I see as being important across the board of citizens, customers and for us in Lloyd's and financial services is the Internet of Things. I just think that's such as game changer, in terms of whether we're talking smart cities, or whether we're talking different and new services that we can offer.

"The idea of so much more machine to machine type of intelligence that can happen, I think will really bring us a lot of new services that we haven't yet imagined and from our perspective, gives us a lot more real time information. Again, to look at risk, to look at what's happening in the world, to enable us to then evaluate that and support our customers in a much better way."

Lloyd's of London has also embraced data analytics and as an early adopter of a chief data officer role, Rigby unveiled that it has been focused on adopting Big Data technologies.

"We're very data focused; we hired a Chief Data Officer about three years ago. That's really led to this emphasis on the value of data in the organisation and a great collaboration with technology between the two areas, to get more value out through some of these initiatives," she said.

Startups and incubators

Rigby said that it was importat to also look outside of the big IT vendors for the latest disruptive technology innovations, and explained how working with startups could benefit CIOs.

"We're working with incubators as well as startups. Actually incubators can help us find some of the best new technologies, rather than us having to do some of that ourselves," she said.

"We're finding that's a really valuable way to come across those new and interesting technologies and organisations."

Rigby also offered some advice to organisations as to how businesses could embrace innovation as a culture across an organisation rather than just a something which sat in a silo.

"Finding the people who welcome change, the people who understand the startup mentality, the people who understand user need and also the people that are going to bring benefit and that you want to work with in bringing those along," she said.

"All of those things are really important and having a culture that wants to try new things and do things, those are things that you need to succeed in this space."

CIO Rigby, who reports to Chief Operating Officer Shirine Khoury-Haq, also said that working for a tech-savvy leader and executive team was beneficial to driving the organisation forwards, even if it came with its own challenges.

"Even if it might create a little additional pressure every now and again, that's not a bad thing," Rigby said. "It's all about driving the organisation forward. I think from my perspective it really helps, because Shirine and I work in partnership and our Chief Data Officer plays a really important role.

"She also works for Shirine; we work quite closely together. It means that we can have a common understanding. We can start to tackle the challenges from different aspects. I find it very helpful and it really helps on the innovation culture as well to have that understanding there. It's very positive from my perspective."