Policy administration systems, agent portals and business intelligence will be among top insurance spending priorities a new report from New York-based Novarica finds.

Culled from 90 interviews of CIOs from across the U.S. insurance industry, the report, "Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council Special Report: Budgets and Plans for 2010 Across the Insurance Core Systems Map," finds 2010 budgets are holding within historically average ranges.

Matthew Josefowicz, director of Novarica and head of the insurance practice, tells Insurance Networking News that despite a good deal of buzz around newer trends such as cloud computing, insurers are focusing on improving technology that aids in product roll out, pricing and improving interaction with their distribution channels.

“It’s about core systems, it’s about business intelligence and agent-facing and customer-facing systems,” he says. “We do see some interesting technology adoption trends—server virtualization is more widely adopted than many would think. We also see Software-as-a-Service being used in ancillary areas such as CRM and BI. But, there are plenty of bread-and-butter issues to be solved before we come up with the next big thing. It’s a very complicated business with very serious problems, and a very serious legacy environment to work with. This report was about bringing out details rather than identifying something new.”

What’s more, Josefowicz doesn’t see spending priorities markedly shifting to areas such as enterprise risk management in response to the financial crisis. 

“Enterprise risk is not a massive issue for the U.S. insurance industry,” he says.  “Once you get away from the largest companies, this is not a top-tier issue. They are much more concerned with the bread-and-butter competitiveness issues.”

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