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CRM: Rhetoric & Reality

CRM—customer relationship management—has become another one of those business concepts that is widely recognized and cited, yet it's hard to find a consistent, much less useful, explanation of what it really means. Is it a technology? A strategy? An architecture? To further complicate the matter, even those who feel confident about defining CRM face a whole new set of questions and challenges: What's required to gain the promised benefits? What are those benefits? Which insurance companies are leading the way in achieving true CRM?

To offer some insights into this critical competitive issue, Insurance & Technology, in partnership with Doculabs, a Chicago-based research and advisory firm, presents "Best Practices in CRM: Insurance Visionaries Make the Connection."

This General Session Special Report, prepared exclusively for distribution at this year's IASA Annual Educational Conference & Business Show, has several important missions. First, to recognize the volunteers and board members who do so much to make IASA an essential industry resource. Second, to enhance your participation in this event by presenting targeted and timely information about the program, venue and sponsors. Third, offer educational information to help make your company more competitive and customer-focused. From Doculabs, there is expert analysis of how CRM-related technology is evolving. We also offer report on how one of the industry's most successful companies—Nationwide—is pursuing CRM.

In a related development, in recognition of the emerging "clicks-and-bricks" model in insurance, and the ways in which it is driving Internet-based customer service and support, the Insurance Innovators Award is being launched here by Insurance & Technology, InSystems and META Group. The Insurance Innovators Award will recognize an innovator who has advanced Internet education, and/or the adoption of Internet technology, in an insurance company or industry association. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2002, and the first winner will be announced in June 2002.

We'd love to get your opinions on what truly constitutes best practices in CRM. Let us know at [email protected] or [email protected]; or visit our Web sites at and

Katherine Burger, Editorial Director

Insurance & Technology

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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