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Tough Enough

Among the attributes of a true leader are vision, intelligence, courage balanced with rationality, and empathy balanced with objectivity. Since the tragic events of September 11, we have had an education about what this really means. We have heard and read many tales of outstanding leadership, and have seen numerous examples of inspiring leadership throughout the country's business community, including the insurance industry.

At this time when effective leadership—in both the business and political arenas—is more critical than ever (and is receiving more attention than ever, as well), Insurance & Technology is pleased to present the Elite 8 2001, our third annual special issue profiling some of the most innovative and effective senior technology executives in the insurance industry.

To assemble this year's roster of outstanding technology executives, we solicited feedback from readers, combed through our own files and back issues for examples of excellence, and turned to some of the most experienced and knowledgeable consultants in the industry for insights and recommendations. The final result is a fascinating mix of individuals from all segments of the industry, and of widely varying backgrounds. The eight honorees certainly are not the only outstanding technology chiefs in the industry, but all are standouts who are widely recognized for their talents and track records.

Even though the eight executives featured in this issue were selected and interviewed several weeks prior to the September 11 attacks, many of their comments and insights seem strikingly prescient in the context of what we know now about the immediate economic and social after-effects. These leaders all understand the importance of doing more with less; of developing, retaining and recognizing staff; and of being able to quickly, consistently, flexibly and accurately respond to changing customer needs.

Some of this year's Elite 8, unfortunately, have had front-lines experience in responding to the disaster, because their firms had operations in or nearby the World Trade Center. Others will be dealing with the impact in a longer timeframe, because of their policyholders' and clients' ongoing claims and evolving financial protection needs. All recognize that their industry is in the process of transformation.

Glib though it may be, the phrase, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" has never seemed more relevant. Among the toughest, savviest and most focused leaders are the men and women we present in thisissue.

Katherine Burger, Editorial Director

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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