Change appears to be in vogue these days, and I'm not talking about the kind you find in your pockets. The economy is changing (in Greenspan-speak, we're in a "retrenchment.") The weather is changing (hey, spring is right around the corner.) And we have a new administration in the White House that's intent on changing the policies of the past administration (no comment.)How we grasp the challenges that accompany change determines how successful we are in our personal and professional lives. The insurance industry is in the midst of revolutionary changes: The development of the Internet as a consumer distribution and service channel and the formation of financial services conglomerates that provide banking, brokerage and insurance products are just two examples that come to mind. Carriers will struggle as they adjust to these and other industrywide changes, but successful carriers will embrace these market forces and develop sound strategies that identify opportunities to grow their businesses.

One way that companies position themselves to succeed in a change environment is through mergers, acquisitions and divesting businesses. Last year in one high-profile deal, InsurQuote Systems Inc. merged with ChannelPoint Inc. A month doesn't go by without merger news affecting technology providers to the insurance industry. In February, for example, PRC Corp., a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, announced it was acquiring the stock of Insurity Solutions Inc. from an internal management group and private investors. Executives from PRC and Insurity Solutions said the acquisition will enable both companies to extend products and solutions to a broader audience including carriers, MGAs, brokers and other financial services providers.

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