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CIO50 2021 #11: Jaron Shaw, Earthquake Commission

  • Name Jaron Shaw
  • Title Chief Data Officer
  • Company Earthquake Commission
  • Commenced role June 2020
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 70 staff, ten direct reports
  • Following the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, a public inquiry led by Dame Silvia Cartwright highlighted that the Earthquake Commissions’ (EQC) data quality and ill-equipped information systems contributed significantly to EQC’s delay in processing claims. Jaron Shaw joined EQC in 2019 with a mandate to innovate. EQC’s digital and data assets needed to be completely reimagined to ensure it could provide the right level of support to people at their most vulnerable.

    National & System-Level Transformation

    EQC has, in partnership with the insurance industry, implemented a new Natural Disaster Response Model where eight private insurance companies act as agents on EQC’s behalf and manage the customer claim process and experience end to end. The new model is data centric, collaborative and a first of its kind globally. The value created includes:

    ·      Moving from a confusing dual-claim model to a single, seamless customer experience through the customer’s private insurer that supports people at their most vulnerable.

    ·      The new operating model and the technology enablers delivered means EQC will not need to scale staff numbers significantly to manage claims in future natural disasters. The partnership with private insurers increases EQC capacity to manage claims by over 20 times, from 4,000 claims per annum pre-Canterbury to 100,000 claims per annum under the new model.

    ·      Providing the tools to EQC staff to be productive and successful anywhere, anytime. This has resulted in a 22% uplift in end user satisfaction that they ‘have the tools required to do their job effectively’ over the past 12 months, 15% above the public sector benchmark.

    ·      The implementation of a safe, secure engagement ecosystem for EQC and their insurance partners to manage and collaborate on claims.

    ·      Enabling greater data sharing and loss modelling to be better prepared and more resilient to future natural disasters.

    Becoming a data-driven organisation

    The design and implementation of a modern analytics function and platform within EQC delivers Data Science and Engineering capabilities to support EQC’s statutory functions and provide new insight and predictive modelling into New Zealand’s natural hazard risks.

    To enable this change, EQC have had to completely re-platform underlying technology infrastructure from antiquated, on-premise systems to modern cloud services, including implementing NZ’s first Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Gen2 deployment.

    EQC have completely shifted their enterprise security and privacy posture, including implementing the first NZISM cloud-based platform in New Zealand accredited to restricted level, and achieving a significant uplift across cyber maturity and cyber risk resiliency dimensions since initial benchmarking.

    “In my role leading PwC’s technology consulting practice, I lead and oversee multiple transformation programmes.  Given the public issues, complexities and volume of change required at EQC, this program of work has been a stand-out example of what can be achieved in a short timeframe under exemplary leadership,” says Rob Fisher, PwC technology consulting lead partner.

    Leading the transformation programme

    As EQC’s Chief Data Officer, Shaw is responsible for leading the Digital and Data Transformation. With an ambitious change programme over a short timeframe, he has continuously grappled with how much change should be taken on, how far strategy should stretch from previous capabilities, and how to best manage the transformation while remaining vigilant to transformation fatigue.

    An organisational change of this scale constantly requires strong communication and a defined purpose, and Shaw cites communication as a critical component of the positive change at EQC. Many of EQCs people and stakeholders have very different understandings of what digital and data change means - Shaw deliberately focused on clarity and simplicity in the translation from strategy to implementation to the people both impacted by and doing the work.

      His goal throughout has been to simplify complex concepts through regular All Hands meetings to keep staff informed in person, and regular digital updates. Direct, transparent briefings on progress and challenges to his Executive colleagues, the EQC Board and Insurance Industry partners have fostered trust and collaboration - critical to the success of the new operating model.  

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