The editors of Insurance Networking often turn to industry experts for their input when we're researching our articles. This special edition of the magazine offers our readers the opportunity to find out for themselves what some of the industry's top analysts believe are the technology trends that are shaping the insurance industry.The articles are very informative and analytical, providing a detailed explanation of how certain technologies are supporting business goals and strategies. One common theme throughout this issue is that competition within the financial services marketplace is forcing insurance executives to develop new business strategies to acquire and retain consumers. Obviously, technology alone cannot accomplish this, but it can provide carriers and agents with the necessary tools to accomplish these goals.

Perhaps the most compelling overview of how banks, brokers and insurance companies rate in terms of IT spending and focus can be found in a chart on page 13. Richard Roby, the director of insurance and commercial banking at TowerGroup, has compiled statistics from various sources to support his argument that insurance companies need to refocus their IT resources on packaged software and outsourced solutions.

Much has been said and written about e-business opportunities for carriers and distributors of insurance, and Charles Brinkley, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, analyzes the findings of a recent global study on insurance and the Internet conducted by PWC and The Economist.

I would like to thank TowerGroup, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Live Sky for their contributions to this special issue of Insurance Networking. I hope you find the articles to be thoughtful and informative. If you have any comments or questions you'd like to ask the contributors, e-mail me at Frank.Cerne, and I will forward them to the authors.

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