The rapid pace of technological innovation is impacting the insurance industry in fundamental ways. Steady advances in bandwidth, processing power and storage capacity have largely obliterated many data center bottlenecks. Elsewhere, new distribution channels are opening, mobile devices are begetting new business applications (and security challenges) and cloud computing is causing many to rethink the merits of fixed cost structures.

These topics, in myriad permutations, were central to many of the discussions held recently at the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association's 2010 Educational Conference and Business Show in Grapevine, Texas. At sessions I heard social media posited as an elixir for everything from hiring to underwriting. If I had a dollar for every time I heard Google's mobile operating system, Android, mentioned, I'd probably be writing this from my new villa in Croatia.

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