(US & Canada) | Inability to Connect Investments to Value Creation Creates Inefficiency — Travelers CDAO

Mano Mannoochahr, Senior Vice President and Chief Data and Analytics Officer, at Travelers, speaks with Jack Berkowitz, Chief Data Officer at Securiti, in a video interview about his professional journey, keeping up with change, upskilling talent, proper use of resources, and successful implementation of AI for better business outcomes.

Travelers is an American insurance company. It is the second-largest writer of U.S. commercial property casualty insurance and the sixth-largest writer of U.S. personal insurance through independent agents.

After three decades of being in the technology space, Mannoochahr transitioned into the insurance industry five years ago to take part in the data and AI action. Given the data and AI-driven transformation, creating and delivering business value methodically excites him.

Looking at the industry statistics, Mannoochahr remarks that typically, it is not organizational friction that creates inefficiency. It is rather the inability to connect investments to value-creation opportunities, which includes understanding end-user needs.

Therefore, his passion lies in delivering better business outcomes and taking care of customers, agents, brokers, and the workforce. Mannoochahr stresses ensuring the organization has the right constructs and linkages and assessing if the investments move the business needle.

Adding on, he mentions taking the opportunity to link business priorities with strategic priorities to see the impact from an organizational perspective and examine if one should work towards better opportunities.

Moving forward, Mannoochahr explains that to keep up with the change, organizations must be able to capitalize on the opportunities that technological advancements have created.

Emphasizing organizational change, he states that the change inside an organization matches or exceeds the changes around oneself. Change comes in all shapes, whether it means talent upgrading or bringing in new skills.

However, Mannoochahr states that organizations must focus on aligning upskilling with business value opportunities because talent must have the opportunity to apply those skills.

This, in turn, would also advance the technology stack, and it would keep track of the accumulated technical debt. Thus, if organizations do not invest appropriately in foundational infrastructure and technologies that deliver a long-term payback, that can be a setback.

Adding to that, Mannoochahr says that the same goes for talent. He maintains that one must create learning opportunities, giving the organization the space, tools, and opportunity.

When asked how to apply resources effectively, Mannoochahr notes that it is fundamental to understand how to invest in people. Next, he advises assessing their ability to adapt and deliver the required capability.

In continuation, Mannoochahr states that his organization has made significant investments in data culture, extending beyond data practitioners and involving business leaders and other functions. Over the past five years, thousands of employees have participated in training sessions.

Through this, the talent can comprehend the importance of data in business and how data created by one function can be used across the organization. The goal is to ensure the quality of the data at the time of creation and curate the data to make it a business asset.

Commenting on the successful use of AI, Mannoochahr shares that, being in the insurance business, the company has a history of leveraging data and analytics in its core product space. Over the past five years, the organization has expanded to include advanced analytics in the form of AI.

This has resulted in an opportunity to expand the AI capabilities across all parts of the business and apply them to frontline work. For instance, the organization uses AI models to analyze imagery of areas affected by wildfires, wind events, or other disasters.

These models successfully identify the type and extent of damage to insured properties, says Mannoochahr. This enables the organization to position its workforce effectively and immediately after an event and reach out to customers proactively, he concludes.

CDO Magazine appreciates Mano Mannoochahr for sharing his insights with our global community.

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