The insurance industry appears poised to remove the "technology laggard" label. Despite a back-to-basics management philosophy brought on by the two-year economic slump, insurance companies continue to move forward with their Internet strategies.For the third consecutive year, Internet-related categories ranked at the top of Insurance Networking News' "Best of the Newest" survey, a poll of 17 technologies rated by insurance company executives and industry experts. The panel rated each technology based on its impact on carriers' operations and its level of innovation.

Web services, arguably the hottest tech topic-and one of the most misunderstood-ranked first in this year's survey, following a third-place finish in its inaugural showing last year. Claims administration tools placed second, followed by Internet security/privacy. Rounding out the top five were Internet delivery/portals and straight-through processing.

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