September 26, 2012 – Given a $3 million-to-$5 million bump in budget, almost one-third of insurer CIOs would put the money toward analytics, despite already investing heavily in that area, according to “If I Had $5 Million… Where Insurer CIOs Would Spend Money They Don’t Have and Why,” a survey from Novarica.

For insurers with less than $1 billion in annual premium, the second most popular item on wish lists is core systems projects (27 percent), according to Novarica, suggesting the industry can expect continued high volumes of activity in this area when business conditions improve and budget is available. IT capabilities and infrastructure also were popular (14 percent), and one-in-five insurers said they would invest in mobile capabilities to improve both the customer and agent and experience.

For insurers with more than $1 billion, 10 percent said core systems; 12 percent said IT infrastructure/capabilities; 14 percent said customer experience; 10 percent said distribution; and 24 percent chose other projects.

Other highlights:

  • Despite focus on data and analytics, more than 30 percent of insurer CIOs would spend more if they had the budget. Clearly this will continue to be an area of high investment for years.
  • Consolidated customer data and general data quality and visualization capabilities were mentioned much more frequently than big data or social media data.
  • There is pent-up demand for core systems projects at smaller insurers and a belief these projects can be accomplished for investments in the single-digit millions. “If business conditions improve and budgets can be made available, we expect continued high volumes of activity in this area,” the report said.
  • Though not mentioned as a stand-alone topic, one-fifth of insurers would increase investment in mobile capabilities to improve both customer and agent experience. Areas ranged from upgrading base platforms to enhancing BPM, to improving application portfolio management and IT staff skills.

In many cases, CIOs said they need more business time and attention than cash.
Money isn’t the answer to everyone’s problems, however, as several respondents indicated. “No matter how much more money we had, the organization could not support the delivery of any more services. The capacity for the business support of IT projects is all but tapped out at this point,” one CIO said.

The report, which includes responses from 120 CIOs, concludes with a reminder that “without commitment from the business to improve capabilities and operations through the effective use of technology, no amount of extra money can accomplish that goal.”

This story originally appeared at Insurance Networking News.

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