The Principal’s Doug Fick: A Customer Advocate

The Principal’s Doug Fick: A Customer Advocate

With customer experience at the heart of many insurance companies’ technology investments and initiatives, it comes as no surprise that Doug Fick’s experience heading up CRM and e-business for The Principal(Des Moines, Iowa; $483.2 billion in assets under management) has led to a distinguished career as CIO of US Insurance Solutions. A longtime focus on rallying line-of-business leaders around the value of operationalizing data and analytics has helped Fick position the company for growth at a time when LIMRA and other life insurance trade groups report that there is a big potential market for life products.

“From a life perspective, the amount of people that don’t have it or don’t have enough is large in this country,” Fick says. “E-business and CRM was something that took care of all lines of business domestically, so I found myself interacting with the CIOs of all the different LOBs on a regular basis. The importance of the experience of the customer was paramount. Everyone was all in; the question was, how do we continue to enrich the data?”

In 2004, when Fick took over responsibilities for IT operations for The Principal’s insurance businesses, he set about building a data warehouse that would lay the groundwork for the company’s customer and agent experience improvements in the decade since.

“It’s not an online transaction system, it’s an analytics reporting predictive environment — the first thing you get out of it is good reporting,” he explains. “It’s things like, what does our customer base look like? What is the average number of products per person? When you take that warehouse data and append it with external data, you get into propensity to buy and predict behavior.”

“In an adviser-driven world, we’re serving the adviser as that customer,” Fick adds. “An independent adviser that sells 401(k)s might not have as much on the group benefit side, but there’s the career agent that sits out there that primarily sells Principal products; we can help them understand from a propensity to buy what might be an attractive product.”

Fick also has carefully maintained the data warehouse environment to handle the onslaught of consumer data that life insurance companies collect. With so much activity in the area over the past few years, the company can’t afford to stand pat.

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