Overland Park, Kansas  — As insurers dive deeper into an economic downturn—replete with the credit crisis and skittish stock markets—investment returns, written premium and operating income all are down record amounts. This is the message from Overland Park, Kan.-based Smallwood Maike & Associates’ recently released “2009 North American Insurer IT Spend” report, which notes that further compounding this calamity are factors, such as the increasingly aggressive competitive landscape, shifting market share and continuing demands of customers (both agents/brokers and policyholders). The research indicates that these issues are forcing executives to tighten the alignment of strategies to business and IT initiatives.

Insurers, as a result, must be diligent with all expenditures, especially IT, the report asserts. Strategic business-driven projects that have direct alignment to profitable growth, ease of doing business and customer servicing should continue be the priority, and remain on the docket for 2009.

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