CIO Profiles: Raymond Voelker Of The Progressive Group Of Insurance Companies

This CIO sees a big opportunity in mobile technologies.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

July 22, 2011

2 Min Read

Career Track

Raymond VoelkerCIO, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies

How long at current company: 25 years

Most important career influencer: Progressive's former CIO, Allan Ditchfield. He established a mentoring relationship and gave me some assignments that stretched me and helped me grow. This is a big reason I'm CIO today.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I was part of the team that built the capability for us to sell insurance directly to consumers. Progressive was the first auto insurance group to have a website and the first to sell insurance to customers directly over the Internet.

Decision I wish I could do over: Several years ago, Progressive reduced IT staff by about 7%. In retrospect, I realize that we could have been more open with our team and communicated what was going on much earlier in the process.

On The Job

Size of IT team: 3,500

Top initiatives:

How I measure IT effectiveness: It's important to follow effectiveness in different ways. Among the ways we do this is financial throughput, measured as net benefit divided by net present value of labor cost. One other way is by measuring quality, including the frequency and severity of systems outages and defects in production.


The next big thing for my company will be ... leveraging mobile technology--phones, tablet computers, inside cars, etc.--to make it easier for our customers to use our services.

One thing I'm looking to change: I'm working toward removing unnecessary complexity by using an infrastructure upgrade process to identify and eliminate low-value components.

Kids and tech careers: I wouldn't suggest a tech career because I don't believe in steering my kids when it comes to a career path. I want them to find something they're passionate about if they are to have a chance at success.


Colleges/degrees: Case Western Reserve University, BS in computer engineering and an MBA

Favorite sport: Football

Tech CEO I admire: Workday's Dave Duffield

Personal computer: iPad

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a football coach or a sportswriter

Ranked No. 71 in the 2010 InformationWeek 500

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