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Carmen Casagranda of Cigna: The CIO as chief digital transformation officer

Carmen Casagranda of Cigna: The CIO as chief digital transformation officer

Carmen Casagranda steps up from IT director to become the insurer’s first CIO – and leading its move to a digital organisation.

'The key to stepping up to any role is to have an open mind and be on a continuous learning and improvement mode' - Carmen Casagranda, Cigna NZ (Photo by Divina Paredes, CIO NZ)
'The key to stepping up to any role is to have an open mind and be on a continuous learning and improvement mode' - Carmen Casagranda, Cigna NZ (Photo by Divina Paredes, CIO NZ)

When an organisation gets a new CEO, staff always brace for change.

In March 2014, Lance Walker took on the top role at the Cigna New Zealand, after chalking up three years in the same role at Loyalty New Zealand, which operates the Fly Buys programme.

What followed was a discussion with the wider executive team on how the insurance sector has not invested as much on technology as other sectors like retail, says Carmen Casagranda, Cigna NZ CIO.

He came in with a fresh perspective, says Casagranda, who was IT director at Cigna for over four years, before taking her current role in April this year.

“We have reached a tipping point where we have got a lot of legacy systems hampering our desire to move to a more modern, digital infrastructure,” she states. “As an organisation, we want to be the leading financial services in the digital world.”

She says the shift is important for Cigna’s direct to consumer model where clients do not deal with a broker but directly through their online or contact centre.

Cigna is a major provider of life, disability, trauma and travel insurance products and services. It is part of Cigna Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, and has been operating locally for over 90 years.

At the end of last year, Walker decided IT needed to be at the executive table rather than reporting through the Chief Operating Officer. Casagranda successfully applied for the role.

She says a combination of factors led to the creation of the role. First, customers want to interact with Cigna through their chosen channels, so it was critically important for them to become an omnichannel provider in a digital era.

Second, she says, was the growing importance of IT - as it has moved to being a key enabler rather than just a traditional back office function.

Today, she and her team are in the forefront as Cigna New Zealand embarks on a digital transformation programme.

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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