SOURCE: SourceMedia

May 13, 2008 22:30 ET

Insurance Networking News and Celent Announce INN's 2008 Vanguards in Insurance Practices Award Winners

Reader Recognition of Insurance Business and Technology Solution Visionaries

CHICAGO, IL and BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) - Insurance Networking News (INN) and Celent released INN's second annual technology solution provider ranking for the insurance industry today at a black-tie awards event held at the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Las Vegas.

In the 2008 Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) ranking, insurance carriers in the United States and Canada ranked the top insurance technology providers across several categories, including integrated systems, platform technology, point solutions, IT services and enterprise technologies. Insurers were asked to name the technology firms that represent the "best of the best" in terms of delivering value.

In partnership with Insurance Networking News, Celent, the most respected source of independent insurance technology and business research and advisory services, led the survey development, data collection and analysis for the rankings.

"Celent's research and advisory professionals represent exceptional industry acumen, which means our readers and the industry at large are being given direct access to the knowledge and expertise generated as part of our collective research efforts," said Pat Speer, INN's Editor in Chief.

"Our collective experience suggests that when it comes to evaluating vendors, there is nothing decision makers appreciate more than insight from their peers," said Craig Weber, Senior Vice President responsible for Celent's insurance practice. "So we based the INN 2008 Vanguards in Insurance program on empirical data gleaned purely from the results of a survey of insurance carriers and brokers."

The top-ranked solution providers are as follows:
PHASE I -- INN 2008 VIP Awards -- Top Solutions Provider

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS:
First Place:    Computer Sciences Corp.
2nd Place:      Guidewire Software Inc.
3rd Place:      Fiserv

PLATFORM TECHNOLOGIES:
First place:    IBM/Microsoft*
2nd Place:      Dell
3rd Place:      HP
*Tie

POINT SOLUTIONS:
First Place:    Guidewire Software Inc.
2nd Place:      Computer Sciences Corp.
3rd Place:      Fiserv

IT SERVICES:
First Place:    Computer Sciences Corp.
2nd Place:      Sircon
3rd Place:      Fiserv

ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGIES:
First Place:    ImageRight
2nd Place:      IBM
3rd Place:      Hyland Software

"This year's enhanced program reflects, through the eyes of insurance company readers and the honest and factual assessment provided by Celent, an unadulterated and unmatched view of the technology solution provider landscape," said Holli Gronset, INN's Associate Publisher. "These hardware, software or services companies have proven that they deserve special recognition for delivering outstanding value to the marketplace."

For Phase II of the INN 2008 VIP Awards program, the top-ranked solution providers were offered an opportunity to nominate an insurance carrier customer as a "visionary" for its use of a specific technology, and encouraged to illustrate the role, if feasible, that ACORD data standards played as part of their business and technology success story. INN's readers, its Editorial Advisory Board, and Celent's top insurance research analysts determined the top-ranked technology best practice in action. The winners of the INN 2008 VIP Best Practices Awards are:

First Place:
Accident Fund Insurance -- Computer Sciences Corp.
Second Place:
Canal Insurance -- Guidewire Software Inc.
Third Place:
WGV -- HP
Honorable Mention:
State Auto Insurance Companies -- Computer Sciences Corp.
RLI Corp. -- Fiserv
Great American Financial Resources Inc. -- Hyland Software

"The enhanced INN 2008 VIP Awards program evokes the necessary discussion of the 'why' behind the ranking," Speer said. "By including a critical educational component, such as how ACORD standards have helped facilitate the leading technology's application achievements, insurers can map to their own success."

The INN 2008 VIP Best Practices Award winners were formally recognized by John Kellington, Senior Vice President of ACORD, responsible for all ACORD Standards, including forms, participation & membership, standards technology support and information technology.

"Our goal at ACORD is to provide all members in the industry with the data standards and best practices to share data... increase efficiency and accuracy... and, of course, improve their bottom line," Kellington said. "This award embodies that philosophy both in its vision and in its action -- and represents the 'best of the best' as chosen by a body of seasoned insurance industry professionals."

In a special segment of the INN 2008 VIP Awards program, Skywire Software was recognized for creating sustainable value through its acquisition efforts, and was named the 2008 INN VIP "Company to Watch."

"Celent's view is that vendor solutions are good and getting better all the time, and it is clear that the bar is being raised on vendor performance. The insurers who participated in the VIP program confirm this," said Weber. "We would like to congratulate the INN 2008 VIP Award winners in each category, who are clearly striking a chord with their clients."

About Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc.

Insurance Networking News is a trusted source for information on how technology is being implemented to support insurers' strategic business objectives, providing insightful analysis of -- and best-practice case studies on -- how technology is being innovatively utilized to automate critical processes. Every issue of Insurance Networking News is written to help senior insurance executives bypass the hype and get to the heart of resolving industry challenges. Readers rely on carefully researched content that is both engaging and analytical. SourceMedia, an Investcorp company, is the pre-eminent provider of timely and essential market information -- including industry news, analysis, research and insights -- for members of the financial services community, as well as related fields such as accounting and technology. Through its comprehensive library of professional publications, suite of industry-standard data applications, and in-depth seminars and conferences, SourceMedia (www.sourcemedia.com) offers its clients and subscribers a valuable and sophisticated range of products and services.

About Celent

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally experienced analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. More information about Celent's insurance practice is available online at www.celent.com/insurance.asp.

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