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Honoring the Best in the Business

Insurance companies' technology officers have distinguished themselves in different ways as demanded by the changing times.

Insurance companies' technology officers have distinguished themselves in different ways as demanded by the changing times. In the six years that Insurance & Technology has honored top technology executives, we have seen their stature steadily rise within insurers' leadership councils. Insurance company CIOs haven't lost any of their responsibilities - they still support the business - but they are now called on to play a central role in strategic planning as well.

As masters of information technology in an information-driven business, senior insurance technology executives are now expected to play a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of their companies. Often, they are asked to do this with limited resources, while making the most of previous technology investments and under increased regulatory compliance demands.

The insurance industry's best technology executives are forging new ways for their companies to interact with distribution partners and end-customers. They are recasting the internal flow of information to their partners on the business side and extracting new value from the data they manage. They are re-architecting their systems to reach new levels of responsiveness to changing business demands while economizing on systems components. They are transforming sourcing from an ad hoc imperative into a creative science, maximizing cost-efficiency and reshaping and streamlining internal staff according to newly defined concepts of core IT competency. And they are driving that staff to excellence in delivery, through tightened governance and process maturity.

As insurance CIOs are looked upon to make a more central contribution, boardroom business acumen is a requirement. With influence comes accountability. Even as budget pressures have decreased, CIOs have been increasingly challenged to prioritize IT spending and resources to deliver tangible business benefits. As I&T Consultants Advisory Board member Rod Travers of Robert E. Nolan Co. comments, "Scrutiny of results is at an all-time high."

In the following pages, Insurance & Technology celebrates insurance technology executives who are succeeding under these heavy demands. In this issue, we honor the best of these leaders, as identified by our editors, our readership and our Elite 8 Consultants Advisory Board, which both nominates and evaluates candidates for the Elite 8 Award. On page 20, members of the Consultants Advisory Board characterize the business environment in which our current Elite 8 honorees excelled. On page 58, I&T talks to 2003 Elite 8 honoree Gary Scholten of The Principal Financial Group about the challenges he's faced since receiving the award. And on page 65, I&T reports on the latest accomplishments of other past honorees.

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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