Timothy Moriarity – Cross Insurance Agency
While the importance of human connection is undeniable in the insurance industry, some things are better done digitally.
For example, Timothy Moriarity doesn’t think customers should have to call their broker to pay their monthly bills or confirm that they want to renew their policies. As the chief information officer at Cross Insurance Agency, he’s making it so these tasks can be done online or processed automatically.
“We’re taking a human-centered design approach because we want to be mindful of the customer experience,” he says. “This will make it more efficient for customers and also allow our brokers to spend their time on matters that do require a more personal touch.”
For example, he says, brokers have found that customers prefer talking directly with them when modifying their policy or looking to add a new one. This allows customers to ask questions and brokers to describe the options.
Cross Insurance Agency is a nearly 60-year-old family business based in Bangor, Maine. Its growth—it has nearly 70 branches throughout the Northeast and over 1,000 employees—as well as changing customer expectations, has necessitated modernization.
“My goal is to revolutionize how insurance is sold and managed by embracing technology,” says Moriarity, who started with the company in 2020. “By engaging our customers in a digital space, we can provide excellent service and security.”
Seeing the full picture
Moriarity is deciding features of the digital agency by “mapping out the customer journey and finding how to digitize those.”
The company has established steering committees that are assessing customer needs regionally and determining which services would be more effective online. Moriarity expects to have the digital agency in place by the end of the year with services being rolled out gradually. He says online bill pay will be among the first because of how highly requested it’s been by customers.
He says this and other “daily grind tasks,” such as receiving new ID cards, will be automated if a customer opts in. The digital agency will also allow customers to view their policies and documents.
In a related project, he’s working with Salesforce and Snowflake on a new business intelligence and data analytics program, which will be in place by the end of the year and will give brokers a fuller picture of customers.
For example, when customers call their brokers, information such as their policy, place of employment and job title is displayed. If the broker sees that the customer is a CEO who has car and home insurance through Cross Insurance, the broker can reasonably assume the customer has a need for commercial insurance or employee benefits. Or if a customer has a child about to turn 16, the broker can talk about adding the child to the auto policy.
“It will give brokers a 360-degree view of a customer, which will allow them to provide more personalized advice and options,” Moriarity says. “It’ll help improve the customer’s experience and their relationship with their broker and the agency.”
Protecting private assets
Moving sensitive information online requires strong privacy protocols, which is why Moriarity has been focused on building a cybersecurity program from the ground up.
“In the insurance industry, the number one priority is protecting assets,” he says. “That includes private data and information.”
One of the first things he did was build a cybersecurity team. Because the industry has been behind in IT, he sought out experts in industries with well-established regulatory requirements, such as healthcare and finance.
“We’re looking at changing the way the insurance industry thinks about technology and security by learning from other industries and building upon their start,” he says.
Moriarity worked with a consulting firm for three months to design the program, which required integrating the legal requirements of each state where Cross Insurance operates. He and his team worked with cybersecurity companies to implement solutions for data loss prevention and account security tools, which will be integrated into the digital agency, the business intelligence and data analytics program, and other internal systems.
The team then developed a three-year plan for implementing the program, with the first year focused on assessing the technology and security already in place. During this second year, the emphasis is on expanding the cybersecurity tools they use as well as training employees on the new systems. They’re also being trained on best practices, such as identifying and reporting phishing attempts.
In the third year, the security team will review and assess the changes they’ve made and make modifications if necessary.
Keeping it interesting
Moriarity has worked in IT for nearly 30 years and says it’s been exciting being in different industries. He’s held IT leadership roles at Bangor Savings Bank; Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; Emera Maine, an electric utilities company; and the Jackson Laboratory, a biotechnology research nonprofit in Maine.
His position at Cross Insurance Agency is his first as a CIO—and his first in the insurance industry. He hadn’t planned to make the transition, but was introduced by a friend to the company’s president and CEO (the founder’s son) and chief operating officer (the founder’s grandson). They hit it off, and Moriarity was offered the job.
“I came into this with a lot of misconceptions about the insurance industry and I’m grateful to have been proven wrong,” Moriarity says. “I expected it to be boring and stuffy, but the complexity of the work and the dedication to customers has created great opportunity for advanced technology.”
While the industry is “very old school,” with paper being the primary form of documentation, he says employees have been open and excited to learn.
“I love how old and new the company is at the same time,” Moriarity says. “It’s been around a long time, but new technology is allowing it to continue to grow and evolve.”
View this feature in the Summer I 2022 Edition here.
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