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Making The Grade

My first real full-time boss was one of those bosses you appreciate more in retrospect than at the time you're working for the person. At the end of my first day on the job, I nervously edged my way into his office to announce that, sorry, I hadn't quite finished the assignment he'd given me, but don't worry, I'd wrap it up first thing in the morning.

The boss glared at me and declared, "In college you can get an A, B, C, D, or F. But in the business world, you can only get an A!"

That was an encounter that I've never forgotten. I'm sure there were other things this man said to me that were more critical, impatient or demanding. But this was a statement that really shook me up. To paraphrase Dorothy, I knew I wasn't in school anymore. This was the real world, where there's no such thing as pass/fail and those who don't successfully execute the assignment are left by thewayside (or at least run to the powder room to wipe away a few tears).

More than 20 years later, his words still ring true, and I'm reminded of them every day that I read the newspaper, listen to the nightly business wrap-up, and do my job—that is, cover the insurance technology industry. As we've seen from the latest round of mergers and retrenchment, the stakes are higher than ever. As the dot-com shakeout has shown, even a grade of "incomplete" can come back to haunt you.


As you page through this issue of Insurance & Technology, you will (I hope) notice that something is very different. This month we're launching a complete redesign, intended to produce a magazine that is more reader-friendly in every way: type-faces, colors, graphic elements, even the amount of space between lines!

This redesign is simply the latest in an ongoing series of initiatives and special projects at Insurance & Technology, including the Executive Summit (Dec. 9-12, 2001, Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix), the launch of Insurance & Technology News, our biweekly free email newsletter; and the expansion of our Web site at

To develop the redesign, the staff of I&T contacted many of you to get your feedback and find out what you thought of it in particular, and, more generally, what you look for in a business magazine. Please let us know whether or not you think we've hit the mark. Kudos, especially, to I&T's art director, Rob Amoroso who has labored long and hard on what I hope you'll agree is an outstanding new look for Insurance & Technology, which continues to be the essential resource of technology strategies for insurance leaders.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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