New York and Chicago — Insurance Networking News (INN) and Celent, a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, announce that voting is currently underway for the 2009 Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) awards.

In partnership with Celent, this is INN’s third annual ranking of technology solution providers to the insurance industry. Winners will be chosen based on votes received by executives and staff from North American insurance companies, including property/casualty, life/health, and reinsurance. These insurers will identify their preferred technology providers in several categories, including integrated insurance systems, point insurance solutions, enterprise technologies, platform technologies and IT Services. Also included in the third annual program will be additional rankings by respondent type.

In Part II of the INN VIP Awards program, the top-ranked solution providers will be offered an opportunity to nominate an insurance carrier customer as a “visionary” for its use of a specific technology, and is encouraged to illustrate the role, if feasible, that ACORD data standards plays as part of their business and technology success story. INN’s readers, its Editorial Advisory Board, and Celent’s top insurance research analysts will determine the top-ranked technology best practice in action.

“In today’s economy, making smart technology decisions has never been more important,” says Craig Weber, senior vice president of Celent’s insurance practice. “We are confident that providing an honest assessment from the insurance community, along with intelligence such as survey respondent type and title, will provide critical insight and make the results even more meaningful.”

For readers of Insurance Networking News who depend on the publication as the independent authority on information that pertains to how technology supports insurers' business strategies, the 2009 INN VIP Awards ranking and its accompanying analysis will provide insights into the leading technology solution providers across multiple categories.

“This year’s enhanced program reflects INN’s ability to provide yet another honest and factual assessment of the technology solution provider landscape,” says Pat Speer, editor-in-chief, Insurance Networking News. “We pride ourselves on being able to enhance the 2009 VIP Program with the necessary discussion of the “why” behind the ranking.  By including critical components, such as respondent type and title, as well as how ACORD standards have helped facilitate the leading technology’s application success, insurers can map to their own success.”

The 2009 INN VIP Award winners will be determined solely by insurance carriers, brokers, managing general agents and agents.  In partnership with Insurance Networking News, Celent, the most respected source of independent insurance technology and business research and advisory services, will conduct and manage the program’s survey distribution, data collection and analysis.

Winners of this third annual ranking will be recognized at an exclusive black-tie event held in conjunction with the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Orlando in May 2009, and will be featured in a Special Report by Insurance Networking News in its June 2009 issue.  This Special Report will include bonus distribution at both the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Orlando and the IASA Educational Conference & Business Show in Kissimmee, Fla.

“We are delighted to work with Celent,” says Speer. “Celent’s research and advisory professionals represent exceptional industry acumen, which means our readers and the industry at large will have direct access to the knowledge and expertise generated as part of our collective research efforts.”

With senior-level analysts in the United States, Asia and Europe, Celent’s breadth and depth of insurance technology experience daters back to 2001. Celent is the only analyst firm to publish comprehensive reports on insurance software sales volumes and in-depth rankings of vendor software. Celent also publishes the widely read annual CIO survey and popular Model Carrier report, making the firm uniquely position to understand the buyer’s side of the industry’s highly competitive landscape. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is part of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Insurers can participate in the survey by going

Sources:  Insurance Networking News, Celent

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