The current economic slowdown has once again forced managers to examine expenses, and reducing staffing levels often is a quick fix for a much larger problem. Rather than examining ways to cut waste, inefficiencies and discretionary spending, some executives believe that reducing payroll is the best way to shore up their company's bottom line.The insurance industry, many experts believe, is employing far too many IT workers, primarily programmers, to justify the amount of money being spent on building and maintaining their technology infrastructures. The industry combined is employing 144,400 technology workers, including about 31,000 programmers, according to TowerGroup, which compiled statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Insurance Information Institute. The banking industry, in comparison, employs 91,170 IT workers, including 15,630 programmers.

How does IT staffing in the insurance industry compare with other industries? A recent study by GartnerGroup determined that for all industries surveyed, there are 17 employees for every one IT staffer. However, among carriers, that number dips to 8.6 workers per IT staffer. In 2001, insurers on average will spend $17,666 on technology for each employee, versus $7,875 for all industries, according to GartnerGroup.

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