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Survey: Amid Soft Market, Carriers to Step Up Technology Investment

Source: IFA

Posted on 25 Jan 2010

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According to IVANS, a provider of download technology to property-casualty insurers, 93% of property-casualty insurers responding to a new survey said they plan to increase their investments in automation technologies amid a market that is pegged to remain soft throughout 2010.

IVANS said carriers will seek to improve operational efficiency through technology to streamline transactions between carriers and agents as a way to "maintain profitability in a sluggish economy," according to a statement on the survey results.

The survey also indicated that 82% of participating property-casualty carriers plan to invest more resources within existing lines of business, versus the 41% of respondents that indicated they will diversify their product portfolio across lines of business.

A majority of respondents (74%) told IVANS they are investing in tools that help them better understand and respond to their customers. Of all respondents, 41% said they expect to increase their technology budget this year.

Clare DeNicola, president and chief executive officer of IVANS, said in a statement that carriers are “shoring up operations and focusing on investments that help them do more with less.

“In large part, property and casualty insurance carriers reasonably weathered the economic turmoil of 2009 because they stuck to their core businesses,” she said. “The industry will continue to be under intense financial scrutiny, and most likely, greater regulatory scrutiny, so the markets will look to carriers to make strategic investments that build on existing strengths versus breaking completely new ground.”

Carriers responding to the survey noted the following top three challenges to achieving their business objectives this year: competing priorities (91%); lack of staff (78%); and the need to update technology infrastructure (67%).

“Like most organizations, carriers are working with finite resources and want to invest in projects that will have the greatest impact on their business,” DeNicola said. “Carriers realize they need to make technology investments to generate operational leverage and efficiency.”

The survey was conducted between Dec. 29, 2009 and Jan. 12, with results representing 68 insurance carrier contacts from across the U.S., according to IVANS.