Carriers' IT Priorities May Be ChangingAlthough most carriers now have Web site functionality that assists agents, less than one in five is using the Internet as a distribution channel for sales. That's one of the conclusions drawn from a survey of 80 carriers conducted by IVANS Inc., Greenwich, Conn. The survey reveals that 70% of the respondents have Web sites that assist their agents, but only 15% are using the Web to support online sales. But carriers' IT priorities may be changing, according to another survey of 248 insurance top executives conducted by Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, New York. That survey finds that carriers currently rate technology investments in business processes and operations as their top priority, but during the next three years, the top IT priority will be investing in new technologies that support distribution and customer management. Meanwhile, 35% of the respondents say that within three years, up to 10% of sales will be conducted via new technologies, compared with only 16% of respondents who say Internet sales currently account for 5% to 10% of sales. And 21% of respondents believe that within three years, more than 26% of their sales will be conducted via the Internet and other new technologies.

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