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2004 Business Technology Forecast

What are the critical trends and issues that will confront insurance technology executives and their organizations in the coming year?

While clear indications of economic recovery came late in 2003, insurance industry IT planning and budgeting reflects at least a guarded optimism for 2004. However, while 2004 may bring some welcome economic change, senior insurance technology executives will face significant challenges in the coming year, including those associated with familiar issues such as cost control, legacy renewal/replacement and disaster recovery/business continuity. Some persistent concerns will even intensify for senior IT execs. For example, security will take a higher priority in the wake of the viruses of summer 2003; and regulatory compliance demands-especially those associated with Sarbanes-Oxley-will require more of CIOs' time and budgets.

Those budgets will generally permit more discretionary spending, in part because of cost-cutting gains already achieved. That will be a boon to insurance technology executives who need to invest in both risk management-related initiatives, as well as those that leverage technology to gain a competitive edge.

In the pages that follow, the editors of Insurance & Technology, along with some of the leading executives, consultants and vendors in the industry, will discuss the major trends and issues facing insurance companies and their technology executives in 2004.

Starting from the perspective of those responsible for insurance company technology decisions, Insurance & Technology interviews members of its Reader Advisory Board about their IT planning and investment for the coming year. The TowerGroup's Jamie Bisker follows with an analysis of the current state core systems, and what insurers can do to make their systems renewable. Insurance & Technology's editors look across the industry to identify 10 technology trends and associated technologies worth watching; a panel of top insurance industry technology consultants provide their views on important technologies and issues; and I&T reports on prominent issues of regulatory compliance for 2004 and on the view of the year from the industry association perspective, with commentary from ACORD, IASA, LOMA, NAIC and NAII.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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