Our industry doesn't need a reminder of the financial pressures it faces as a result of the economic crisis of 2008/2009. Globally, insurance premiums totaled $4.07 trillion in 2009, down from $4.22 trillion the previous year, according to a recent Swiss Re sigma study. Nevertheless, the study found that in 2009, most countries' insurance premiums actually grew faster than their respective GDPs, and the industry's profitability and capital strength improved as financial markets recovered.

Still, the industry's overall financial health and relative stability belie the underlying challenges it faces. The global insurance marketplace is expanding at an accelerated rate, and this expansion portends a host of opportunities for organic growth. Yet, transformative shifts in demographics, culture and technology demands-both from within insurers' walls and outside them-are causing these companies to view their operational, development, risk management, governance and IT investment strategies differently.

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