Canadian Underwriter

Imen Zitouni | Intact Insurance

March 10, 2023   by David Gambrill

Imen Zitouni Photo

Print this page Share

Imen Zitouni, Senior Vice President, Intact Lab, Chief Digital Officer, Intact Financial Corporation

Intact’s chief digital officer first came into Canada’s property and casualty industry as a digital expert, not an insurance professional. Her oblique entry into the industry started with her offering digital advice to a friend, an insurance professional. 

“I started in 1998, before Google,” says Imen Zitouni, senior vice president of Intact Lab and chief digital officer at Intact Financial Corporation. “When I finished my Bachelor’s [degree], I was hired by a digital agency. And this is where I really got into digital marketing.  

“My roommate and best friend was working in an insurance company. They were starting to work on digital, so he came home at night and asked me questions about digital marketing. And then his boss called me and said, ‘You know what? Instead of answering your friend’s questions at night, you should come work for us.’ This was 20 years ago, and I loved P&C insurance so much that I never left.” 

Zitouni came to Intact by way of the company’s 2011 acquisition of AXA Insurance.  

“At the time, I was Intact’s first vice president of web business,” she recalled. “I was asked, “What do you think about the impact digital services might have?’ I had this idea of having a digital innovation lab, that I saw in industries outside of P&C insurance, and I thought that would be relevant to face P&C industry challenges.  

“So, we created a plan [for Intact’s digital innovation lab] in 2015, with 15 digital and artificial intelligence, or AI, specialists at that time. The goal was to simplify the experience for us, and for all of our customers, on the digital front and offer a second-to-none experience.” 

Eight years later, the Intact Lab has more than 300 specialists in design, product management and software development working on the company’s digital experience.

Zitouni’s role oversees all transactional experiences for Intact’s Canadian customers, including quoting online, purchasing policies online, client’s online self-serving options through the company’s clients center, and also building the company’s mobile app, which includes telematics, onboard crash-detection technology and other value-added features. 

Zitouni’s family background is in the hospitality sector, so she has been raised with a longstanding interest in how to provide customer service. She said she’s also motivated by tough challenges and ambitious objectives. Her creative approach to problem-solving has led her to be on the frontier in many of her digital roles in the insurance industry. 

“We strongly believe insurance is about people, not things,” she said. “We really want to bring human elements to the center of our products to offer an experience that people understand and recognize. So really, over the past 20 years, this industry and my company has allowed me to explore opportunities for innovation to better that experience for our customers.”

Zitouni thinks it’s important for companies to be intentional about creating the same creative career opportunities for women that she’s had, which means having policies and procedures in place to help move women into leadership roles.  

Also, companies should be developing female talent within their organizations. Formal mentorship programs help, she said, adding that she benefited from mentorship programs throughout her career. 

“Having a mentor, an expert and senior leader, accompany you to answer your questions…is a key differentiator and an accelerator for women’s careers, for sure,” she said. “Another thing that makes a difference is giving exposure to women and giving them challenging assignments, which also strengthens our pool of talent.”