Even with the IT budget purse strings loosened somewhat, carriers still need to be astute about where they direct technology investments -- which means they're likely to rely more than ever on objective third-party research and advice. Accordingly, some of the financial services industry's most prominent analyst firms have beefed up their insurance practices with new talent.
At TowerGroup, which over the past few years saw the departure of key contributors Deborah Smallwood (now chief transformation officer at P&C carrier ICW Group) and Jamie Bisker (now Global Insurance Industry Leader at IBM's Institute for Business Value), David West has taken over as the insurance practice's research area director. West, who joined TowerGroup mid-year, says the Needham, Mass.-based firm's research will grow significantly during the coming months, including the releases of its year-end U.S. regulatory environment review and its popular Top 10 report around key business issues. In the coming year, he reports, TowerGroup will cover critical issues such as Solvency II preparation, enterprise risk platform development and the impact of election-year politics on the U.S. market. Also in 2008, TowerGroup will look to acquire additional analyst talent with real-world insurance experience, West adds.
Growth also is apparent at Celent's global insurance practice, where Jeff Goldberg and Nicolas Michellod recently joined the team as senior analysts. Michellod will be stationed in Celent's new Zurich office. He'll cover business and technology trends in continental Europe with an additional focus on emerging markets in Eastern Europe. Goldberg, meanwhile, will be based out of Celent's New York office and -- in an indication of where the insurance industry is headed -- will focus on topics such as e-business, enterprise content management (ECM), service-oriented architecture (SOA) and data mastery.
Previously, Goldberg worked for Marsh as VP of Internet technology and for Harleysville Insurance as director of Web technology. "Jeff's in-depth technical knowledge and direct industry experience will allow us to expand our coverage of deeper technical issues related to SOA and managing technology and data infrastructures," says Matthew Josefowicz, managing director of Celent's insurance practice.