A new year and decade will soon be born, and with it comes hope and excitement over what could be. But, for insurers, while the nature of the business would have you believe that hope springs eternal, the reality of the still-present financial crisis and anything-but-certain regulatory situation could temper most enthusiasm.

As part of its annual Insurance Industry Outlook, Deloitte looks ahead to 2010 and highlights six key points certain to be on the radars of insurance companies across the United States.

Those points are:

· Regulation: With the introduction of the new National Supervisor for Insurance Commission companies should have in place the necessary people and processes to comply with increased and tougher regulations.

· Expansion: Growth will remain difficult in 2010, so differentiation will be key.

· Customers: Carriers needs to focus on their distribution channels and partner with their producers to better understand the customer.

· Streamlining: Expense reduction will remain a top priority as growth remains slow and pressure on financial statement remains high.

· Technology: Technology will take center stage, whether it's to increase efficiencies or to expand via social media.

· Talent: Managing talent through the downturn, both in terms of attracting talent on the street and retaining current employees, will be key to maintaining a long-term competitive advantage.

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