Financial Services Firms Increasing Spending, But Priorities Differ
BUDGET OUTLOOK

Financial Services Firms Increasing Spending, But Priorities Differ
Spending is increasing among financial services firms across the insurance, banking and securities/capital markets sectors. But priorities differ, according to a joint survey conducted by Insurance & Technology and its sibling publications, Bank Systems & Technology and Wall Street & Technology.


HOT TOPICS 2008

IT Executives Looking For Fastest Ways To Make Effective Business Decisions
Analytics, risk management and integration will top financial services IT executives' to-do lists in 2008.

P&C Carriers Will Look for In-Depth Analysis
Data integration, modeling, and analytics will continue to areas of focus and investment within many property and casualty (P&C) carriers.

Banks Will Revamp Payment Infrastructures
In 2008, financial institutions will increasingly test "payment architecture committees" and seed enterprise-level IT budgets.
Beneficial Financial Group CIO Steve Terry Discusses Business Intelligence Tools
How to be effective with the available business intelligence tools is a real challenge, Beneficial Financial Group CIO Steve Terry says.

Metlife Bank CTO Mark La Penta Talks About Holistic Risk Management
Items under the risk umbrella such as security, privacy, suitability, will no longer be treated as isolated efforts.

IT Needs to Be Integrated, Not Just Aligned, With Business
Leveraging SOA and understanding the burgeoning role of social computing will keep CIOs busy this coming year.

SAP's Falk Reiker Discusses Real-Time Operability Change
It will not be an overnight transformation. Banks will start with a phased approach that first simplifies the processes they currently have in place to reduce redundancy.

Rapid Rollout of Services Will Differentiate the Market
It's going to be all about rapid rollout of services -- prioritized by customer demand and focused on capabilities -- that differentiate in the market.

Banks Should Consider Extending SOA With BPM
BPM, and the complementary components of process engineering and SOA, enable banks to drive new revenue, become more efficient and create new services to retain customers.

IT, Data Governance Converge
Developing a common framework that defines the scope of governance, policies, IT and business responsibilities is essential to manage data effectively.

Financial Services Firms Will Need Faster Computational Power
Reinvesting in technology solutions that provide faster computational power is paramount to a firm's success.


UPDATE

Microsoft launches HealthVault, Insurance Carrier Partnerships Could Follow
The chief architect behind Microsoft's HealthVault, an online consumer health offering, says that the company is pursuing partnership opportunities inside the insurance industry.

MetLife Auto & Home Launches SEMCI Initiative
MetLife has launched PowerLink, a set of vendor partnerships that will help deliver SEMCI functionality to independent agents.

WellPoint Partners With Zagat
WellPoint partners with Zagat to offer an online peer-to-peer physician rating tool to the insurer's members.

Allianz of America Expands AT&T Network Services Agreement
Allianz of America (AZOA) has expanded Fireman's Fund's network services agreement with AT&T to include its Allianz Life subsidiary through a four-year, $70 million contract.

Medical Mutual of Ohio Acquires Benefit Services
Addressing market changes driven by rising healthcare costs, Medical Mutual of Ohio has added the "boutique" capabilities of small group focused third-part administrator (TPA) Benefit Services, Inc., to the Cleveland-based carrier's own TPA offering.

NAMES IN THE NEWS

Steve Miller Heads Encompass Insurance IT
The newly named AVP in charge of technology at Allstate personal lines brand Encompass will focus on speedier and more intuitive systems for independent agents, brokers and other distribution channels.

Hartford Life Names Brian O'Connell CIO
Former Accenture executive Brian O'Connell will drive technology integration across Hartford Life in support of greater efficiency and effectiveness, and to enable a cross-selling initiative with The Hartford Financial Services Group's property/casualty company.

What are insurers' and other financial institutions' plans for their 2008 IT budgets, and where do they expect the spending to go in the coming year? Our 2008 Financial Services Outlook offers some predictions.


THE NEXT BIG THING

Predictive Analytics and Complex Event Processing Technology Move to Cutting Edge of Financial Services Industry
As data volumes continue to rise, bankers, insurers and traders are leveraging predictive models to anticipate future behavior and events.

LINE-OF-BUSINESS OUTLOOK

Identifying the Insurance Industry Faces A Number Of Critical Issues In 2008
Executives from the industry associations that represent each insurance sector speculate on the most urgent issues facing their lines of business in 2008.

Public Partnerships Critical For Insurers In Catastrophe-Prone Regions
Creating public/private financial partnerships is a critical step in stabilizing property insurance markets in catastrophe-prone regions of the u.s.

Life Insurance Industry Would Benefit From Optional Federal Charter
An optional federal charter (ofc) would streamline the regulatory process for life insurers, allowing them to better compete with banks and securities firms in the market of asset management products and services.

Technology, Innovation Enable Health Insurers To Address Challenges
Health insurers are integrating new technology tools, such as personal health records (phrs) and e-prescribing, to deliver information quickly and lessen administrative burdens.

Reinsurers Need To Address Catastrophe Risk And Regulatory Issues In 2008
In the coming year, reinsurers should focus on natural catastrophe risk and the relationship between federal and state governments as it relates to regulation.


ANALYST FORECAST
 
The Three R's Will Drive Carriers' Fates in 2008
David West, Research Area Director, Insurance, at TowerGroup, says the manner in which carriers respond to the drivers of risk, revenue and regulation will determine how the industry emerges from the current soft market.

 
PLAYERS TO WATCH

Players to Watch in Insurance Technology During 2008
Insurance & Technology's editors identify some notable industry movers and shakers with opportunities to make a difference in the insurance technology world in the coming year.

Kevin Murray Builds for AXA Equitable's Long-Term Growth
Former AIG Domestic Brokerage Group and Personal Lines CIO Kevin Murray is establishing strategic platforms in support of AXA Equitable's ambitious growth objectives.

LOMA and LIMRA Face Future Together
The boards of LOMA and LIMRA have agreed to unite under the new name LL Global, saying that the complementary offerings of the groups will bring members synergies.

Craig Lowenthal Handles Carrier Systems Again For NYMAGIC
Back on the carrier side after a stint at Integro, Craig Lowenthal faces the challenge of turning around legacy systems-bound New York Marine and General Insurance Co.'s (NYMAGIC) technology organization.

ACORD's John Kellington Drives New Standards Approach
Former Ohio Casualty CTO and IBM consultant John Kellington will apply his best-practice and project management disciplines to his new role as ACORD's senior vice president in charge of standards.

2008 Presidential Election Promises Change for Health Insurance Industry
Candidates for both the Democratic and Republican 2008 presidential nominations have proposed changes in the current health insurance system. Climate change is another topic of debate.

Tripathi Continues IT Transformation at Harleysville
Harleysville Insurance CIO Akhil Tripathi has implemented two new policy administration systems since 2006, earning the carrier a reputation as technology leader along the way.

ACORD's John Kellington Drives New Standards Approach
Former Ohio Casualty CTO and IBM consultant John Kellington will apply his best-practice and project management disciplines to his new role as ACORD's senior vice president in charge of standards.


FROM THE EDITOR

Insurance & Technology Investments Transform Catastrophe Claims Management Strategies
Mobile computing, analytics and content management systems are among the technologies helping insurance companies transform their claims response to catastrophes such as the recent California wildfires. However, this both benefits and challenges policyholders.

CASE STUDY

Kanawha HealthCare Automates Data Queries With D2Hawkeye
As requests for disease-based cost analysis information rose, Kanawha HealthCare turned to D2Hawkeye's ASP offering to automate the query and data mining process.

Agis Turns to StreamServe To Achieve Efficiency
Netherlands-based Agis drives greater customer satisfaction through StreamServe's document production system.