By Peter High. Published on Forbes
Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) is a $13 billion dollar global life and health reinsurance entity based in St Louis, Missouri. A few years ago, the company developed a subsidiary called RGAX that is part innovation lab and part venture arm, focused on transformative initiatives. On its own site, RGAX is noted as “embracing the talent, resources, and more than 40 years of insight and innovation experience. RGAX partners with carriers and entrepreneurs to fuse industry expertise and outside capabilities.”
Two years ago, when RGA sought a leader of this function, they elected to elevate the chief information officer of the company, Mark Showers. He led RGA’s IT team for more than seven years, and, as such, knew the business inside and out. As RGAX would require defining areas ripe for transformation and build an ecosystem in the start-up and venture world to help deliver that. In this interview, he shares insights from his current role, how his time as CIO helped provide him the wherewithal to take it on, and as well as a variety of other topics.
(This is the 41st article in the “Beyond CIO” series. To read through past interviews with executives from companies like Waste Management, Biogen, Allstate, Aetna, Marsh & McLennan, and BMO Financial Group, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please follow me on Twitter @PeterAHigh.)
Peter High: You work for a group called RGAX, a wholly owned subsidiary and a transformation engine of Reinsurance Group of America. Could you describe the mission of RGAX?
Mark Showers: RGAX was established roughly three and a half years ago. At a core business level, the fundamental driver was to create a new and diversified set of earning streams for RGA. Specifically, it was designed to create earning streams within the health and life sectors that are outside of our core reinsurance business. We see ourselves as a mission-driven organization, and the mission we established at RGAX is to help people live longer, healthier, and more financially secure lives. While this broadens our base beyond the typical business of RGA, it is still targeted at the areas of life and health.
High: How do you think about the topic of innovation, and how do you direct the team to focus on the various areas in which it is involved?
Showers: RGA is built on innovation so we want to make it clear that RGAX is not the only place where innovation occurs. Because of this, we use the term ‘transformation’ to describe the work of RGAX. There are four pillars or lines of business where we focus our efforts: data analytics, digital distribution of life insurance, consumer engagement, and insurance services. We pursue each of these in three different ways: