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Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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Introducing the Elite 8 International 2008: Global Insurance IT Excellence

For all the talk about breaking down operational silos, the tendency remains for busy IT executives who are juggling multiple assignments and responsibilities to stay focused within their own kinds of silos. Sure, they're interacting with staff, colleagues, peers and customers. But to what extent are they really looking beyond their own organizations or markets to learn about new and better ways to conduct business (or maybe, new and horrible practices to avoid)? Today's fast-moving and almost borderless financial services environment provides plenty of best practices, role models and cautionary tales for CIOs and other executives looking to expand their horizons.

To that end, Insurance & Technology is pleased to introduce the "Elite 8 International 2008," a timely new report beginning on page 19 that is inspired by our renowned "Elite 8" special issue, now going into its 10th year. Just as the long-standing Elite 8 coverage recognizes outstanding insurance CIOs based in the U.S. who have demonstrated both vision and technology know-how to help make their organizations more effective and competitive, the mission of the Elite 8 International feature is to identify IT management excellence and success at insurance companies based in Europe and the U.K., Asia-Pacific, Canada and Latin America.

As the I&T editorial team assembled this inaugural Elite 8 International report, we found that for all the unique local differences and conditions, insurance IT executives face many of the same kinds of challenges, regardless of their geographic base. These include achieving efficient and reliable operations, gaining profitable insight into current and potential customers, and making the right kinds of technology investments that will produce measurable results. Add the pressures of responding to the consequences of what has become a global credit crisis, and it's clear that there's more that unites today's global CIOs than separates them.

Further illustrating the impact the credit crisis and looming recession are having on IT strategy, we also offer in this issue an exclusive research report from TowerGroup and I&T, beginning on page 31, that forecasts a retrenchment in insurance IT spending for the coming year. Where there is spending, it will tend to focus on compliance-related areas, such as enterprise risk management, as well as on initiatives related to operational efficiency. When it comes to IT, it really is a small world, after all.

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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