APAC insurers to up IT budget in 2012

Insurers expand IT budgets in line with economic growth, and more inclined to experiment with tech such as cloud computing and business intelligence, Ovum notes.

As the Asia-Pacific region experiences post-recession growth, insurance firms here will increase their IT budgets in the year ahead, focusing on private cloud and business intelligence, a new Ovum survey has found.

More than half (53 percent) of the respondents polled said they were going to increase IT budgets for the 2011-2012 period, which is a 6 percent increase on the 2010-2011 period, the analyst firm said Wednesday in a statement.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents expected their IT budgets to increase significantly--that is, by more than 6 percent, it added.

Ovum interviewed a total of 49 companies from Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan between March and May this year. The insurance industry segments surveyed included non-life insurers, life insurers and multi-line insurers.

Barry Rabkin, insurance technology principal analyst at Ovum, reported that Asia is currently in a "growth mode", having come out of the post-financial crisis economic situation.

"Although Asia-Pacific insurers are struggling with having more insurance business operating systems than they want, they are planning to increase IT budgets in 2012," he said in the statement.

More interest in cloud, BI
Rabkin noted that besides expanding IT budgets, there was also more willingness among insurers in this region to deploy new technologies.

For instance, 43 percent have already deployed or are experimenting with private cloud, the study discovered.

Business intelligence was also increasingly being tapped to improve customer retention--the top use of BI, according to 86 percent of the respondents.

Compared to their counterparts in North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia-Pacific insurers were more proactive in "chasing the Web 2.0 marketplace by choosing service-oriented architecture, software-as-a-service and rich Internet applications", Ovum said.

They were also found to be receptive toward outsourcing. For instance, 51 percent of them indicated they were "comfortable" with business process outsourcing (BPO), while another 56 percent reported using IT function outsourcing in network services, desktop management, IT security, applications development and application management, the analyst firm pointed out.

Last month, Ovum also released a forecast stating that wealth management companies in the region will increase their IT expenditure over the next four years. On Monday, it reported that the growth in IT spending by Asia's financial industry will outstrip that of other regions.


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