Sacramento, Calif. — The Women's Network Group held its second session in Sacramento, Calif., to discuss the challenges and opportunities in a softening marketplace and economy. Among the participants in the meeting were women from various industry sectors, including insurance and financial services.

As the insurance industry moves forward to improve its business performance it must also manage the challenges of a recession. Special challenges for the P&C insurance industry in the upcoming year include the inability to meet revenue forecasts, declining operating margins, increase in debt and a decline in market share for certain client segments.

However, the recession could have a few upsides for the insurance industry. "An economic downturn can create great opportunities for new product and service innovation," says Julie Davis, EVP, Aon Corp., Chicago. "In addition, it also creates the opportunity to break bad, and outdated, habits. Both innovation and creativity can be the best ingredients to produce great results in 2008. While sagging expectations for the U.S. economy may lead some client industries to lower their revenue forecasts, new product and service expansions into new markets can't be overlooked."

Davis led a group discussion at the Women's Network meeting in March, and they reviewed common issues that the insurance industry faces in 2008. The issues discussed include changing distribution channels, new product and service innovation, mergers and acquisitions, talent management, technology integration, regulatory and transparency issues and a continuing soft market. The group also discussed challenges around cost of capital and internal hurdle rates for new ideas.

"These are the issues that will matter the most in 2008," says Davis.

As network risk and privacy liability concerns grow among various industries, an increasing number of professionals are seeking advice on the best ways to uncover their firms' exposures.

Another topic of discussion at the meeting was the growing network risk and privacy liability concerns, from which a list of industries most at risk was developed, as well as a few questions that can help firms identify their exposures.

Industries most at risk for network and privacy liability risks could include health care, benefit plan consultants, and accounting and financial consultants. In addition, lawyers, insurance agents and carriers, travel agents and retailers are usually holders of private data. Real estate, property managers and appraisers also were likely candidates of industries at risk. Lastly, any technology, Internet or pharmaceutical firms have some exposures as well.

Source: PR Newswire

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