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Top Business Technology Challenges for Insurers in 2013 Named by X by 2

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI -- (Marketwire) -- 01/07/13 -- What will be the top IT challenges and trends for the property/casualty, health, and life insurers in 2012? X by 2, a consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry, offers these five.

1. Progress toward data enlightenment: The technological, functional, and operational drivers are already in place, and the key for 2013 will be the insurance industry's ability to put these drivers together the right way. That means using familiar and unfamiliar data resources in different ways to identify trends, opportunities, and even catastrophes before they occur. The industry has emerged from the medieval limitations of proprietary data stores and feudal jousting over data ownership. It's now in the midst of a data renaissance, and the age of full-fledged data enlightenment is dawning.

The next great step is breaking the chains of what has bound the industry to the traditional ways of utilizing data for key metrics and performance indicators. Rather than an inward-focused view of the carrier, the era of data enlightenment will provide an outward-focused view -- the carrier as a reflection of its capabilities, performance, and principles. For those carriers that get there, the payoff is big: competitive advantage, underwriting profitability, and predictable loss expenses.

2. Twin peaks for health insurers: medical informatics and data exchanges will be the Holy Grail for proactive patient care and medical-expense management in 2013. Combining these two powerful converging trends will enable health insurance companies to exchange and use patient healthcare data to streamline care management and delivery practices to achieve better outcomes and lower costs -- and comply with the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, for 2013 informatics will be the foundation of an insurer's ability to explore and exploit innovative provider and member-facing strategies.

3. Leaving a legacy: The decades-long industry effort to make the leap from the tried-and-true mainframe platform to distributed, cloud, and mobile platforms remains an ongoing reality for the industry and will continue for 2013. The stakes remain high, and real progress is being made, as insurers that finalize their transition sooner rather than later will be competitively positioned for agility in their markets and responsiveness to their customers. With the economy rebounding, more insurers will find the money to modernize core systems. But a well-planned conversion strategy is crucial; pouring millions into a project doesn't ensure success.

4. Rise of the program manager: With so much on the line for the drama-free delivery of modernized platforms, top-level program and project quarterbacks will be at a premium for insurers in 2013. A unique combination of big-picture thinking, effective communication skills, and business process and technology know-how will become implementation imperatives. Insurers will compete furiously for this talent, and those that acquire a top-notch program manager will have their MVP for 2013.

5. Architecture spelled with a 'd' for delivery: For 2013, savvy insurance carriers will continue their focus and efforts on developing and deploying architectures that promote product and service agility, flexibility, and responsiveness. The key for 2013 will be delivering these platforms to production to enable the ability to dynamically configure and combine new products and services, and the ability to quickly develop and deliver new channel services and valued customer experiences.

X by 2 (www.xby2.com) is a technology company in Farmington Hills, Mich., specializing in software and data architecture and transformation projects for the insurance industry. It provides architecture design, planning, oversight, and turnaround services on enterprise-scale business technology initiatives. Clients include national and regional life, health and property-casualty insurers, and healthcare organizations.

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