In the course of our normal business, our editors pride themselves on touching base daily with you, our readers-insurers, reinsurers, members of your distribution networks (managing general agents, brokers and agents) and the technology solution providers who support you. They ask about your challenges, and listen to your concerns as well as those expressed by our editorial advisory board experts. We also regularly garner feedback from informal Web polls and online surveys.We hear a lot of the same issues: In a softening market marked by increased merger and acquisition activity, your challenge is to remain competitive, be first to market, lower your costs, and give your distribution networks and the customers they serve the necessary tools to succeed. In the words of one reader, "it's like trying to stay in the driver's seat and navigate an ever-changing, congested, winding road."

This accumulation of reader intelligence helps Insurance Networking News deliver the critical information necessary to help insurers leverage technology in order to make the best possible business decisions. This means, of course, making the best possible IT spend decisions.

As the foremost authority on how insurance technology supports your business strategies, we are duty-bound to listen. In fact, as direct result of reader feedback, we are pleased to announce some significant changes to our second-annual technology solution provider awards program.

First, we've renamed our program to reflect the fact that it is more than just a vendor popularity poll. The "INN Vanguards in Insurance Practices" (INN VIP Awards) will recognize your choice of solution providers and offer a critical analysis of their position in the marketplace. By addressing your request for the top technology solutions in action, the VIP Awards will also provide real-world examples of insurance company visionaries that evoke the "why" behind the ranking. By including this critical educational component, such as how ACORD standards have helped facilitate the leading technology's application success, you can chart your own successful course.

Second, to provide you with the most accurate, factual assessment of the technology solution provider landscape, we are pleased to partner with Boston-based Celent LLC, a highly respected source of independent insurance technology and business research and advisory services. Celent will conduct and manage the program's survey distribution, data collection and analysis, and, based on reader request, will enhance this year's program with additional rankings by respondent type.

Finally, similar to last year, winners will be determined solely by the members of the insurer community-but in addition to insurers, brokers, managing general agents and agents, reinsurers will also be represented. This is your program. Help us help you stay in the driver's seat and navigate that ever-changing roadway by logging onto the INN VIP Awards survey at www.insurancenetworking.com.

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