We're still climbing out of the recent economic downturn, and times are still challenging. However, forward-looking insurance companies need to position themselves for the next growth wave ahead. Unfortunately, things won't get any easier as the economy starts to grow again; instead, markets will get even more competitive, customers will get even more demanding and margins will get even thinner.

How can a company rise above all this? Effective deployment of information technology will make the difference. That's the view of Syama Sundar, global client director for the insurance practice at Tata Consultancy Services. Sundar recently fielded some of my questions about the new economy for an upcoming special report in INN. As he put it: “ IT is one of the driving forces behind competitive advantage in the marketplace. Insurance IT executives must think about how they can bring new value from championing investments in IT that will create and sustain future business value and speak to the needs of the consumer.”

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