Rubén Arturo García Gómez – Lockton Companies Mexico

Brokering technology in LATAM

It’s a delicate balance. Insurance brokers have to assess their use of IT tools—which can very often feel impersonal—with the “high touch, professional, kindly and accurate” service that customers expect. And all this while ensuring that they’re recommending the best and most relevant products.

Rubén Arturo García Gómez and his team are focused on helping brokers achieve this happy medium.

“We can’t be asleep, we need to be ready for all the new capabilities that appear,” says the director of IT for Lockton Mexico. “We need to be alert to identify, analyze and implement these capabilities to keep on the road.”

Unique complexities

Lockton is an insurance brokerage and consulting company headquartered in Kansas City with more than 6,500 associates around the world. Providing multiple lines of insurance—from accident and health to property and personal—its flagship offering is a flexible benefits program for human resources and actuarial consulting. Lockton is the largest private broker in the world, with main markets in the U.S., the UK, Latin America and Asia.

Its Mexico operations, in particular, have grown rapidly over the last five years, García Gómez says, adding that no matter where you’re located in the world, technology is becoming a huge differentiator in insurance. He and his team must identify and maintain platforms that provide opportunity and reliability, that are high-functioning and user-friendly, and that are available anytime and anywhere.

One of his most significant projects internally was migrating the Mexico data center to a private cloud through IBM SoftLayer. Such migrations are always challenging, he notes, but he proudly reports that it was executed without business interruption.

And not only has it reduced costs and allowed for greater flexibility, it has augmented Lockton’s information security and business continuity measures. The infrastructure allows for a more complete disaster recovery plan, he says; the company can be back in operation in one business day in case of any emergency.

García Gómez has also integrated new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) tools that have enhanced coverage and enabled faster and more secure integration across company systems.

Looking ahead, he and his team are considering ways to extend service capabilities through new and existing platforms, while analyzing new tools and infrastructure improvements to bolster cybersecurity measures. Meanwhile, the department recently launched a machine learning pilot program; the goal is to have insightful analytics about users, employees, products and internal processes by late 2019.

“This technology has a huge opportunity to create value in our business,” he says.

Still, he notes, today it isn’t enough to have technical skills alone—you have to be business-oriented, a good leader and a good market researcher. “The CIO role is one of the most complete roles you can find in an organization today. As CIOs we need to prepare every day to help our organizations grow.”

Prescience and skill

A native of Mexico City, García Gómez started taking an interest in technology when he was about 12, he recalls—particularly, he was intrigued by its wide-reaching implications not only for his life, but the world.

He came to appreciate that technology has no borders—you can create anything you can imagine. It is an open window; a continuous learning journey, he has observed.

“I imagined that these machines could create many opportunities, new lines of investigations and changes in our lifestyles,” he recalls. He began voraciously reading technical journals, then learned how to program. “The idea of writing code and seeing how the computer helped me do a task was impressive,” he says.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and his MBA from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM), García Gómez most recently served as IT director at MetLife Mexico. While there, he oversaw the changeover of the company’s complex collection system to Oracle capabilities—a project he is intensely proud of architecting and completing.

He joined Lockton in March 2017, jumping at the “big challenge and opportunity” and compelled by Lockton’s “global and local position,” as well as its growth and talent.

The last two years have been the best of his career, in fact. “I have found the space to put my experience in practice,” he says. “Each day is a day to resolve new problems, to identify new opportunities, and to take on new challenges. There is no time to rest.”

As he puts it, the brokerage company has the human capital it needs to move forward in a growing—and therefore increasingly competitive—industry.

With that in mind, García Gómez stresses that he doesn’t manage his department as a technical one—instead, he considers IT a business model that exists to enhance company growth. “If we are able to understand the business need, we can provide the right solution.”

He adds that, “My human skills are my best weapon. The most important thing I’ve learned on this journey is to treat people as people. All of us have a personal life, and this is just as important as our professional life. If we allow colleagues to have personal lives, we will all have our best professional lives.”

Ultimately, it’s an exciting time for IT—as he contends, nearly every company is, at its core, an IT company.

In other words: “All companies need technology to be different from their competition, to be closer to clients, to be more efficient and to be anywhere,” he states.

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