2017 Premier 100 Tech Leader: Olaf Romer

When strategy shifted, this CIO took the lead

Olaf Romer, head of corporate IT and group CIO, Baloise Group [2017]
Baloise Group

As the Baloise Group embraced a customer-centric corporate strategy that acknowledged that pricing would no longer be the differentiator in the marketplace, IT's contributions became even more critical, according to Olaf Romer, head of corporate IT and group CIO at the Switzerland-based insurance company.

"I should be the enabler, I should give input, I should be the consultant who helps [business units] take the most advantage of the existing IT infrastructure and capabilities. This is one of the most important things that a CIO has to deliver to his business," says Romer, 48. "This is not really an IT topic; it's a more of a cultural topic and a rethinking of our strategy."

Recent technology initiatives highlight his philosophy on how IT leadership has changed. Romer has brought new tech-enabled capabilities directly to the company's customers, so they can file claims more easily — and receive payments for valid claims more quickly.

Perhaps even more innovative is a project that aims to help customers avoid problems that would lead to insurance claims in the first place. Spearheaded by Romer, the initiative involves the installation of sensors on power companies' wind turbines. The sensors gather data that Baloise can analyze to identify components at risk of breaking down and determine the ideal time for maintenance — thereby helping the companies keep their equipment in working order.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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