This year's survey also provided some insight into technologies that are now emerging, such as artificial intelligence, and others, such as customer relationship management (CRM), data warehousing, wireless devices and catastrophic modeling, that slipped down the list in the survey.Perhaps no technology in recent memory has received as bad of a rap as CRM and data warehousing. Most experts believe the technology is solid; it's how organizations execute that has caused many projects to fail to live up to expectations, they say.

"CRM investments have failed," notes Todd Eyler, senior research analyst, Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass. "Carriers need to improve their business practices in segmenting their customers and updating key business processes such as underwriting. They also need to integrate their delivery channels, which is a middleware challenge."

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