Chicago and Boston — Insurance Networking News (INN) and Celent released INN’s second annual technology solution provider ranking for the insurance industry today at a black-tie awards event held at the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Las Vegas.

In the 2008 Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) ranking, insurance carriers in the United States and Canada ranked the top insurance technology providers across several categories, including integrated systems, platform technology, point solutions, IT services and enterprise technologies. Insurers were asked to name the technology firms that represent the “best of the best” in terms of delivering value.

In partnership with Insurance Networking News, Celent, one of the most respected sources of independent insurance technology and business research and advisory services, led the survey development, data collection and analysis for the rankings.

“Celent’s research and advisory professionals represent exceptional industry acumen, which means our readers and the industry at large are being given direct access to the knowledge and expertise generated as part of our collective research efforts,” said Pat Speer, INN’s editor-in-chief.

“Our collective experience suggests that when it comes to evaluating vendors, there is nothing decision makers appreciate more than insight from their peers,” said Craig Weber, SVP responsible for Celent's insurance practice. “So we based the INN 2008 Vanguards in Insurance program on empirical data gleaned purely from the results of a survey of insurance carriers and brokers.”

The top-ranked solution providers are as follows:

PHASE I – INN 2008 VIP Awards – Top Solutions Provider

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS:

First Place: Computer Sciences Corp.

Second Place: Guidewire Software Inc.

Third Place: Fiserv

PLATFORM TECHNOLOGIES:

First place: IBM/Microsoft*

Second Place: Dell

Third Place: HP

*Tie

POINT SOLUTIONS:

First Place: Guidewire Software Inc.
 
Second Place: Computer Sciences Corp.

Third Place: Fiserv

IT SERVICES:

First Place: Computer Sciences Corp.

Second Place: Sircon

Third Place: Fiserv

ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGIES:

First Place: ImageRight

Second Place: IBM

Third Place: Hyland Software

“This year’s enhanced program reflects, through the eyes of insurance company readers and the honest and factual assessment provided by Celent, an unadulterated and unmatched view of the technology solution provider landscape,” said Holli Gronset, INN’s associate publisher. “These hardware, software or services companies have proven that they deserve special recognition for delivering outstanding value to the marketplace.”

For Phase II of the INN 2008 VIP Awards program, the top-ranked solution providers were offered an opportunity to nominate an insurance carrier customer as a “visionary” for its use of a specific technology, and encouraged to illustrate the role, if feasible, that ACORD data standards played as part of their business and technology success story. INN’s readers, its Editorial Advisory Board, and Celent’s top insurance research analysts determined the top-ranked technology best practice in action.

The winners of the INN 2008 VIP Best Practices Awards are:

First Place: Accident Fund Insurance - Computer Sciences Corp.

Second Place: Canal Insurance - Guidewire Software Inc.

Third Place: WGV - HP

Honorable Mention: State Auto Insurance Cos. - Computer Sciences Corp.

Honorable Mention: RLI Corp. - Fiserv

Honorable Mention: Great American Financial Resources Inc. - Hyland Software

“The enhanced INN 2008 VIP Awards program evokes the necessary discussion of the ‘why’ behind the ranking,” Speer said. “By including a critical educational component, such as how ACORD standards have helped facilitate the leading technology’s application achievements, insurers can map to their own success.”

The INN 2008 VIP Best Practices Award winners were formally recognized by John Kellington, SVP of ACORD, responsible for all ACORD Standards, including forms, participation and membership, standards technology support and information technology.

“Our goal at ACORD is to provide all members in the industry with the data standards and best practices to share data, increase efficiency and accuracy and, of course, improve their bottom line,” Kellington said. “This award embodies that philosophy both in its vision and in its action—and represents the ‘best of the best’ as chosen by a body of seasoned insurance industry professionals.”

In a special segment of the INN 2008 VIP Awards program, Skywire Software was recognized for creating sustainable value through its acquisition efforts, and was named the 2008 INN VIP “Company to Watch.”

“Celent’s view is that vendor solutions are good and getting better all the time, and it is clear that the bar is being raised on vendor performance. The insurers who participated in the VIP program confirm this,” said Weber. “We would like to congratulate the INN 2008 VIP Award winners in each category, who are clearly striking a chord with their clients.”

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