Insurance Networking News launched its third annual INNovators 2009 Awards, a prestigious designation intended to advance the spread of business technology acumen in the insurance industry.

Nominees for this award must work for insurance carriers, agencies or brokerages. Nominations should reflect the name of an individual, a team, a department or an entire company. The “innovation” must have been in production long enough to have returned demonstrable, tangible results.

Anyone with a specialized knowledge of information technology—as it applies to insurance—can nominate a potential INNovator. Those eligible to nominate a potential INNovator can work for insurance companies, industry suppliers, research firms or consulting companies.

A panel of notable insurance industry experts, including industry analysts Matt Josefowicz from New York-based Novarica, and consultant Mark Gorman from Indianapolis-based Mark Gorman & Assoc. and the distinguished members of the INN Board of Advisors, will choose the winner from the nominees chosen by INN readers.

If the judges consider more than one project worthy of the highest recognition, they may, at their discretion, choose more than one INNovator.

The winner/winners will have led or contributed to a business application, innovation or project anywhere in the insurance industry supply chain that uses technology to meet many, but not necessarily all, of the following possible criteria:

1. Unprecedented use of technology
2. New uses for established technology
3. Demonstrable return on investment
4. Cost savings
5. Brand enhancement
6. Improved efficiency
7. Better accuracy
8. Increased production
9. More complete reporting
10. Improved regulatory compliance
11. Enhanced agent retention
12. Better customer service
13. Furtherance of corporate objectives
14. Acceptance from other parts of the company
15. Good relations with vendors
16. Good relations with consultants

To download a nomination form, visit http://www.insurancenetworking.com/innovators/index.html.

Three overall areas are important in the nomination process. Their criteria:

1.    Business Impact—Does the innovation essentially change the positioning of the firm relative to key financial indicators, production metrics and performance indicators?

2.    Technical impact—Does the innovation essentially change the ability of the firm to:
       •    Be agile in response to new technologies, new processing capabilities, new applications?
       •    Speed its response to new market demands in terms of products, services, capabilities?
       •    Enhance its ability to collect, store, enhance and take action on the information that is available in the market (internal transaction processing, third-party, structured, semi-structured, unstructured, or internally or externally derived)?
       •    Streamline the technology stack in order to leverage technology investment, reduce maintenance and support, enhance capacity, etc.?

3.    Level of Innovation—at what level in the organization does the innovation provide the maximum value? Is it being used:
      •    Tactically at the level of maintenance and support?
      •    Tactically at the level of transaction processing (new business, renewals, policy changes, billing, claims) or internal operations (financial reporting, investment management, etc.)?
      •    More strategically in impacting market positioning from the perspective of customers, agents, the regulatory environment, the reporting bureaus?
      •    Strategically in impacting the ability of senior management to affect longer term strategic change in new markets, new products, new distribution channels, new business models, etc.?

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