Insurance executives have a lot on their minds these days, the top issue being increasing financial pressures that, like a vice grip, are squeezing insurers' profits. As insurance executives prepare their 2003 budgets, and search for ways to reduce spending, industry experts warn that they should be wary about cutting technology spending.Granted, the days of throwing mounds of money at new technology projects are over, not just in this industry but across Corporate America-as well it should be. In many cases, technology was oversold as the cure-all for carriers' inefficiencies. As a result, carriers have become more skeptical about promises made to them about the benefits of new technologies. But, fortunately, skepticism hasn't prevented insurance executives from investigating how technologies can support their business strategies.

Instead, carriers are demanding from suppliers hard information that quantifies how much a certain technology will improve efficiencies or lower costs, and how quickly their technology investments will pay off-excellent questions that demand accurate replies from technology suppliers. For their part, most technology companies appear to be listening to carriers' queries, and, when possible, are providing tangible ROI data.

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