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New Priorities

On September 11, our industry, our jobs, and our lives changed forever. Much, if not all, of what occupied and obsessed us as insurance technology professionals—budgets, meetings, vendor evaluations, project roll-outs, proposal development, articles—seems trivial and meaningless in the wake of the horrible events of that day, and the sad news of so many innocent lives lost. And even when there was good news—people who survived, people who rescued—the concept of "business as usual" seems like a cruel, cynical taunt.

And yet...for many of us, the people with whom we work are another family. The numerous tales of heroic sacrifice after the terrorist attacks—people who jeopardized their own survival to help co-workers escape—testify so clearly to that. And, among the survivors, the complete and total dedication and commitment of so many managers to getting their companies back up and running at remote or temporary locations is absolutely awe-inspiring. Getting back to business clearly is going to be a necessity—economically, psychologically, and patriotically—for all of us.

At Insurance & Technology, we are accustomed to writing about how the insurance industry responds to disasters, reporting on the technologies companies use to process and settle claims more quickly, provide better service to policyholders and customers in need, and what they do when their own operations are affected by catastrophes. Undoubtedly, we will be writing many of these kinds of articles in the months ahead—already there have been amazing reports of ingenuity, pragmatism and efficiency. We also will be following the economic impact of the attack on the industry, since long-range implications for business and technology strategies are staggering. (Most of this issue was completed before Sept. 11.)

But we won't be reporting and writing these stories with our usual professional detachment. It's likely that every person on our editorial and business staffs, as well as the staffs of our sister publications Wall Street & Technology and Bank Systems & Technology, will know people who were killed on September 11. All of us have been devastated by the events of the day, and our thoughts and condolences go out to all our colleagues and business associates who lost loved ones, family members, friends or business associates.

The Insurance & Technology team is committed to providing information and resources to the industry as it works to recover. Please contact me if you have any ideas or suggestions for ways that we can help. Beyond that, perhaps the best thing all of us can do right now is appreciate and cherish our co-workers and colleagues, take pleasure in everyday tasks and routines that we no longer can take for granted, and give thanks for our lives, our health, our friends and our families.

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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