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Spending Outlook

Members of I&T's Reader Advisory Board forecast 2005 budget trends.

Members of I&T's Reader Advisory Board forecast 2005 budget trends.

Bob Wilkes, Business Transformation Officer, California State Automobile Association (San Francisco; $2.3 billion in direct written premium): "In 2005, we will be investing in the self-service channel, Voice over IP and mobile technology. We will be delivering integrated business systems in insurance, CRM and analytics, and we are also investing to become a process-oriented organization working from a services-oriented architecture."

Craig Lowenthal, CIO, Hartford Financial Products (a subsidiary of The Hartford; $18.7 billion in revenue): "Our budget is growing very slightly for 2005. We are fortunate, though, to be able to invest in new projects and initiatives without having a large increase in spending. The efficiencies we've developed and deployed over the past three years have allowed us to decrease our maintenance and support costs and redirect those funds to competitive technology projects."

Greg Tranter, CIO, Allmerica Financial (Worcester, Mass.; $26.5 billion in assets): "Our technology spend is about the same as it was in 2004, with continued emphasis on decreasing baseline maintenance costs to allow for more investment in newer technologies. Among the new work and new skills impacting the technology area for 2005 are claims initiatives and more Web-based applications. Our focus on continuous improvement is being enhanced by efficiencies we are implementing around business analytics, quality assurance and testing. Portal technology enhancements will be big for us in 2005."

Robert Fullington, CIO, Life of the South (Jacksonville, Fla.; $200 million in premium income): "Our technology budgets will have a slight increase over 2004 of around 3 percent. Key technologies that we will be investing in are rules-based engines, Web development tools, optical recognition, middleware and data-mining software." Project areas include: "Integration with our financial institution customers; creating middleware for supporting our products; and Web-based customer-service projects. Also, reducing business costs is a primary goal, so we are working on more automation in claims adjudication, selective outsourcing and more efficient end-to-end process workflow."

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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