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BCM 5000: Auditing BCM Programs for PS Prep Certification & ISO 22301 Lead Auditor Training is the only Auditor Course that prepares both internal and 3rd party auditors as well as BCM professionals to audit BCM programs against all 5 DHS accepted standards.  Also NEW!  Introduction to ISO 22301 - the new international standard for Business Continuity Management Systems. 

Auditors who will be responsible for certifying private sector companies under PS-Prep in the
USA must have completed a training course that includes examination of the auditor's competence in ASIS SPC.1, ISO 22301, NFPA 1600:2010., ISO 19011, and ISO 17022. Lead Auditors who wish to certify companies to ISO 22301 will also need to add to their competencies.

BCM 5000 provides students with the skills and knowledge to conduct and lead effective business continuity management system audits in accordance with the requirements of the BCMS standards, ISO 19011: 2012 and ISO 17022: 2012.

Outside of the US, BCM 5000 teaches ISO 22301 Lead Auditor Training only.

2012 Course Schedule

August 20-24, 2012: Chicago, IL      Summit Executive Center
November 5-9, 2012: Tampa, FL      Marriott, Tampa Waterside

Class meets 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Daily

Register Now!


Course Description  (Download the Brochure)

Attendees will gain a solid understanding of business continuity management programs and practices along with an in-depth study of the appropriate standards and audit requirements.


The course includes the following process for instruction:

  • Essential BCM Program Components are introduced and explained (the How)
  • The appropriate standard component is identified (the Why)
  • The appropriate audit requirement is determined (the What)

To assist with the understanding of the overall process, the class is constructed around a case study and each activity will be applied to the case study as we move through the course and practice applying the standards to auditing practices.


Also included in the course are small 'quizzes" taken after each section and an exam review "Jeopardy" game to prepare for the exam.


Course materials include the following:

  • Student Guide - Over 300 pages of text and pictures (not ppts!) to be used as a future reference
  • Case study
  • Sample plans and supporting documentation to evaluate the case study against the standards and audit requirements
  • Copy of each of the following standards:
    • ASIS SPC.1 (student must download from ASIS website and provide)
    • BS 25999 Part 2 (through 2012)
    • NFPA 1600: 2010
    • ISO 22301
  • ISO 31000 review guide:  Structured Approach to ERM and ISO 31000
  • BCI's Good Practice Guidelines 2008
  • Compliance Scorecard for meeting requirements of each standard and all standards
  • NEW!  Includes ISO 22301 - the New International Standard for BCMS

Course Outline and Learning Objectives

Part 1:  Requirements of a Business Continuity Management System

Part 2:  Developing Strategies to Mitigate Risk

Part 3:  BCM Program Implementation - the elements of a BCM program and keeping it up to date

Part 4:  Embedding BCM into the Culture of the Organization

Part 5:  Program Improvement, exam review and exam


As a result of successfully completing BCM 5000, students should show competence in and an understanding of the following areas:

  1. The key practices of a business continuity program for organizations of all sizes
  2. The requirements for auditing business continuity programs under the 3 PS-Prep standards
  3. The essential elements of the standards:

Course Audience: Internal auditors, 3rd party auditors (certifying bodies for PS-Prep), and BCM professionals.


Attendees should have some auditing experience, but can have only minimal expertise with business continuity management systems.  Attendees with expertise and experience with BCMS will gain the necessary knowledge to prepare for an external audit and to develop a standards-based program.


Accreditation and Certification

BCM 5000: Auditing BCM Programs for PS Prep Certification & ISO 22301 Lead Auditor Training is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  ANSI is the only US accreditation body.  ICOR's BCM 5000 is the only ANSI accredited PS-Prep course .


Upon completion of BCM 5000 and passing the exam with a rate of 75% or higher, attendees will earn a certificate as a BCMS Auditor.


Register NOW!


Course Fee: $2,895.00 USD includes all course materials, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments.


Questions?  Contact Lynnda Nelson at 866-765-8321 or Lynnda@theicor.org


Long Branch, N.J. – On the heels of a rare and extremely dangerous storm in our National Capital Region (NCR), Cooper Notification, the leading supplier of Life Safety and Mass Notification System (MNS) solutions, is helping to keep those affected informed. Utilizing Cooper Notification’s Roam Secure Alert Network (RSAN), emergency management officials are able to send those in the NCR a wide range of alerts to both stay informed and help aid recovery efforts.


Covering 18 total jurisdictions in the NCR, Cooper Notification is reporting that nearly 500,000 users have taken advantage of the system and more than 4 million alert messages were sent between June 29 and July 2. These messages included all user emergency and severe weather alerts; updated traffic patterns and road closures; school and government closings; and information regarding cooling centers, food, water and ice distribution locations.


"Although somewhat rare, summer storms, like the recent derecho that wreaked havoc on the National Capital Region, have the potential to cripple communications for millions of residents," said Scott Hearn, President, Cooper Notification. "By utilizing our RSAN solutions, those affected can receive the latest updates to stay informed, learn where vital support stations are located and avoid certain areas to speed up recovery efforts.”


Through RSAN, emergency management personnel are able to send geographically targeted alerts, even during power outages, to communities across the region. During this crisis, alerts were sent simultaneously via e-mail, text and voice to cell phones, landlines, smart phones, pagers and other devices. Utilizing multiple delivery channels increases the likelihood each population will receive the message no matter where they are located or evacuated.


Cooper Notification: Delivering Critical Alerts when it Matters Most

Cooper Notification, the industry’s most comprehensive, multi-layered Mass Notification System (MNS) provider, provides critical, emergency communications for cities and counties across the U.S. With 500 MNS systems around the globe, other installations include U.S. military sites; university and college campuses; state and federal agencies; airports; and hospitals.  Integrated with one simple-to-use interface, Cooper Notifications reliable and effective MNS solutions allow emergency officials to send event-specific instructions to multiple communication channels, including voice-sirens, indoor and outdoor speakers, digital signage, text messaging/SMS alerting, automated dialing systems, desktop alerts, and email notifications. These systems play an important role in emergency alerting and information sharing among government leadership, first responders, critical infrastructure providers, businesses and citizens.


About Cooper Notification

Cooper Notification, a solution platform of Cooper Industries, is comprised of several businesses with decades of experience and innovation in the development of high quality products and solutions. With the ever present need to protect, alert and inform, Cooper Notification is focused on meeting the growing demand for personnel and property safety. We are the source for notification solutions supporting Fire, Security, Hazardous area, Mass Notification, Voice evacuation and Industrial Signaling applications and operating under the powerful global brands of Fulleon, MEDC, Roam Secure, SAFEPATH, WAVES and Wheelock. For more information, visit the web site at www.coopernotification.com.


About Cooper Industries

Cooper Industries plc (NYSE: CBE) is a global electrical products manufacturer with 2011 revenues of $5.4 billion.  Founded in 1833 Cooper's sustained success is attributable to a constant focus on innovation and evolving business practices, while maintaining the highest ethical standards and meeting customer needs.  The Company has seven operating divisions with leading market positions and world-class products and brands, including Bussmann electrical and electronic fuses; Crouse-Hinds and CEAG explosion-proof electrical equipment; Halo and Metalux lighting fixtures; and Kyle and McGraw-Edison power systems products.  With this broad range of products, Cooper is uniquely positioned for several long-term growth trends including the global infrastructure build-out, the need to improve the reliability and productivity of the electric grid, the demand for higher energy-efficient products and the need for improved electrical safety.  In 2011 sixty-two percent of total sales were to customers in the industrial and utility end-markets and forty percent of total sales were to customers outside the United States.  Cooper has manufacturing facilities in 23 countries as of 2011.  For more information, visit the website at www.cooperindustries.com.

Waltham, MA – Sanbolic®, the market leader in data management, and Zadara Storage™, the leading provider of enterprise-class storage-as-a-service for public clouds, today announced that the two companies have entered into a strategic agreement under which they will join together to deliver enterprise-class storage with high availability application clustering, via the world’s leading public cloud providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace Hosting.  The new Sanbolic and Zadara offering will enable customers to leverage Zadara’s Virtual Private Storage Array™ (VPSA™) service and Sanbolic’s Melio™ data management software together with the products/services provided by the world’s foremost public cloud providers, in order to extend the availability, scalability, performance, protection and management efficiency of business critical applications and data, while dramatically increasing flexibility and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO).

“Zadara's innovative VPSA service provides customers with the same capabilities, performance and availability of on-premise, enterprise SAN/NAS arrays, without the necessity of expensive upfront capital or long-term commitment,” said Nelson Nahum, CEO and Co-Founder, Zadara Storage.  “By combining Zadara storage with Sanbolic data management software, together with the products and services provided by the biggest names in public cloud, customers can now confidently move their business critical applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, Windows file-/web-serving, analytics and VDI into the public cloud and enjoy unmatched scalability, availability, performance and ease-of-management, as well as unmatched data protection, privacy and security – at an absolutely unbeatable entry price.”

“The advantages of being able to span business critical applications from on-premise data centers to a public cloud are impossible to ignore, starting with huge efficiency increases and significant cost decreases – to dramatic enhancements in scalability, availability, performance, and disaster recoverability/data protection,” said Momchil “Memo” Michailov, CEO and Co-Founder, Sanbolic.  “Now, business organizations can easily and confidently ‘plug into’ these benefits when they leverage the combined Sanbolic and Zadara offering, and in doing so completely level the playing field and then, re-dedicate the valuable expertise of their IT professionals to activities that directly contribute to the bottom-line, speed time-to-market and increase competitive advantage.”

In related news, Sanbolic recently announced Sanbolic Melio AppCluster™ support for public cloudsSanbolic AppCluster, a Microsoft SQL Server specific module within its Melio™ software, extends the agility, high availability (HA), and scalability of SQL Server workloads across physical, virtualized, and now – both private and public cloud environments.  With the addition of public cloud support, customers are now able to further minimize the cost and complexity of managing SQL Server clusters, while extending the economics of public cloud to one of the most widely deployed database server and information platforms in the world.

For further information on the joint Sanbolic and Zadara Public Cloud Service, available today to customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Rackspace, please visit: http://www.sanbolic.com/melio-cloud.htm or http://www.zadarastorage.com/solutions/meliosqlcluster.

About Zadara Storage, Inc.

Zadara Storage, Inc., based in Irvine, California, revolutionizes the Cloud by offering a high-performance, high availability, primary block storage service at major Public Cloud providers (including Amazon Web Services as an AWS Solution Provider, Rackspace as a Rackspace Cloud Tools Partner and OpSource as an OpSource Cloud Solution Provider). With Zadara's Virtual Private Storage Array™ (VPSA™) service, subscribers are able to run databases and other demanding applications in the public cloud, easily, effectively and consistently. Zadara VPSAs combine the privacy, control and consistent performance of on-premise enterprise storage systems with cloud economics, flexibility and ease of use.  For further information, please visit: www.zadarastorage.com.

About Sanbolic, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Sanbolic® is a global leader in data management.  Its Melio™ software suite delivers dramatically increased levels of application availability, scalability, protection and performance while decreasing cost and management complexity across enterprise data center applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and Windows file-/web-serving, Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop (VDI), and Microsoft Hyper-V private cloud environments.  For further information please visit the Sanbolic website at: www.sanbolic.com or email: info@sanbolic.com.

Wood Dale, IL – Disaster Kleenup International (DKI), LLC, North America's largest disaster restoration contracting organization, today announced that Restoration X, of Stuart, Florida, provided a full scale mold remediation free of charge for the Good Samaritan Center for Boys on Saturday, May 19th, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Good Samaritan Center for Boys is a non-profit organization that teaches lifelong lessons, brings families together and supports the educational growth of young boys and young men.
Restoration X was contacted a few weeks ago regarding a possible mold contamination.  Upon inspection, they discovered that there was contaminated drywall and other areas of the building have been affecting the health of the children and volunteers alike.
As a small non-profit, The Good Samaritan does not have the same accessibility to funds as larger charitable groups.  Restoration X will be providing their services at no cost to the program.
“It is truly an honor to help the community, our town and this fantastic charity,” said Chris Costantino, owner of Restoration X.
Restoration X has provided insurance restoration in the Florida marketplace since 2008 and became a member of DKI this year.

Munich, Germany - ADVA Optical Networking announced today that Telefonica has successfully trialed a new automated multi-layer network in northern Germany. Built upon the ADVA FSP 3000 and Juniper Networks® MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers, the new network uses ROADM technology, RAYcontrol GMPLS control plane software and multi-layer configuration mechanisms developed in the IST project ONE, funded by the European Union. During the course of the trial, Telefonica I+D, ADVA Optical Networking and Juniper Networks collaborated with European universities to enable multi-layer restoration and automated DWDM service provisioning between IP/MPLS routers. The trial enabled Telefonica to verify the significant potential for reduced operational and capital expenditures while driving new levels of speed and efficiency.

“This trial really showcases the potential of new multi-layer networks,” said Juan Fernandez-Palacios, Head of Core Network Evolution at Telefonica I+D – Global CTO Unit. “The level of simplicity and automation that we were able to achieve was incredible. We now have the opportunity to activate new services in seconds; previously this could take hours. What's more, we're also able to verify the drastic reduction in OPEX and CAPEX that such a streamlined multi-layer setup will deliver in our network. This trial provides a clear understanding of what tomorrow's networks will look like.”

According to Telefonica I+D analysis, multi-layer restoration led to over 37% reductions in capital expenditures in IP/DWDM networks. In addition, mean time to repair can be extended by a factor of 20 while keeping 99.999% availability, which translates to significant reductions in operating costs. However, the biggest impact was seen in the provisioning of new services. Telefonica discovered that new services could be activated in less than 50 seconds. Previously this could take hours and was both costly and time intensive.

“The network is undergoing a huge transformation,” commented Christoph Glingener, CTO at ADVA Optical Networking. “This trial perfectly underlines the opportunities available to service providers to balance customer demand for bandwidth while at the same driving increased profitability and new business opportunities. Network automation is critical to this process and Telefonica has shown just how simple and effective unified multi-layer operations can be.”

“We've built something special with ADVA Optical Networking and Telefonica,” said Luc Ceuppens, vice president product marketing, Platform and Systems Division at Juniper Networks. “It's not just architecting a new network, it's creating a new understanding of what tomorrow's network can be, –all with lower OPEX, lower CAPEX, and faster service provisioning. The network of the future has to do more than we've ever imagined and this trial showcases just how simple it can be.”

FARNBOROUGH, U.K. — Airbus and Boeing are gearing up to roll out large commercial jetliners in ever-increasing quantities over the next 10 years, according to a new report from Forecast International, but will component suppliers be able to keep up with demand?

Forecast International's newly released "The Market for Large Commercial Jet Transports" projects that 14,655 large commercial airliners will be produced in the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021.  The Connecticut-based market research firm estimates the value of this production at $2.04 trillion in constant 2012 U.S. dollars.

Airbus and Boeing, the two dominant manufacturers in the market, are implementing production increases, and are considering additional increases for the future.  However, determining how fast and high to increase production is a tricky proposition for the two companies.  In addition to the vulnerability of their supply chains, another concern is the overall health of the airline industry.

The desire of Airbus and Boeing to expand production is putting a considerable strain on their suppliers, especially in light of ongoing global economic sluggishness and uncertainty.  In such an environment, a number of suppliers may be unable or even unwilling to support continual production increases.  Adding to the pressure on suppliers is the fact that Airbus and Boeing are shifting their focus from manufacturing to integration, and are looking to outsource more design and production responsibilities.  According to Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski, "The potential for bottlenecks among suppliers means that Airbus and Boeing need to tread cautiously when it comes to future production increases."

A second major concern is the health of the airline industry.  Air traffic is growing, and the industry as a whole is profitable.  Still, many individual airlines are experiencing financial difficulties, including some carriers that have hundreds of orders on the books for new aircraft.

At the same time, Airbus and Boeing have considerable incentive to keep production rates high and growing.  The two companies hold large numbers of unfilled orders, but this means long waiting times for customers to take delivery of their aircraft, which often results in considerable frustration for these customers.  A lack of early delivery slots could also tempt potential buyers to take a serious look at new aircraft emerging from manufacturers outside of the Airbus/Boeing duopoly.  Such aircraft include the Bombardier CSeries, the COMAC C919, and the Irkut MC-21.

With an eye on this new competition, Airbus and Boeing have launched development of new, re-engined versions of their narrowbody airliner families.  The Airbus A320neo series and the Boeing 737 MAX family will battle each other for the lion's share of the narrowbody market.

In the widebody segment of the large airliner market, the new Boeing 787 entered service in 2011.  The Airbus response to this new aircraft is the A350 XWB, which is currently scheduled to enter service in 2014.  The A350 is also aimed at the popular Boeing 777, with the result that Boeing is looking at ways to upgrade the 777.

Forecast International, Inc. (www.forecastinternational.com) is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics.  Based in Newtown, Conn., USA, Forecast International specializes in long-range industry forecasts and market assessments used by strategic planners, marketing professionals, military organizations, and governments worldwide.  To arrange an interview with Forecast International’s editors, please contact Ray Peterson, Vice President, Research & Editorial Services (203) 426-0800, ray.peterson@forecast1.com. Questions regarding sales may be directed to sales@forecast1.com.
Philip Adams has joined eBRP Solutions as a Regional Business Development Manager, introducing the eBRP software products to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery  Professionals in Europe, Middle East and Africa.  
In response to the expanding global needs of its growing customer network, eBRP is expanding its Support network to provide 24/7 online support across all time zones.  Phil has established an eBRP office in London, UK, from which he will also provide support for eBRP customers in Europe and the Middle East during their normal working hours.
Phil previously spent three and a half years as a Global DR Administrator at BP in London, and has more than twenty years prior experience as an IT professional. He can be found on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/phil-adams/52/922/554, or contacted at Philip.Adams@eBRP.net, or +44(0)7932 060811.
About eBRP Solutions
eBRP Solutions is the premier global provider of Business Continuity Management software supporting the entire BCM lifecycle.  Award-winning eBRP Suite is available as a true SaaS (Software as a Service), or can be self-hosted.  eZ-PLANNER is the industry’s most powerful entry-level software.  Both products give Planners all the tools needed to supercharge their BCM program.   Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, eBRP serves customers in a multitude of industries and institutions across the globe.  For more information, contact eBRP at 1-888-480-3277 or visit www.eBRP.net.
ICOR, CSCMP, and Competitive Insights Advantage are proud to announce have partnered to bring you the world's only elearning course that focuses on the mitigation of supply chain risk. With the recent world-wide disasters that have severely impacted supply chains globally, it is time to learn how to mitigate supply chain risk.

Based on University Elearning Programs, Supply Chain Risk Mitigation is an interactive "live" elearning opportunity.  SCRM 2000 is the only ANSI Accredited Certificate Program in supply chain risk management.

How does it work?
This interactive elearning course runs over a two week timeframe - Monday, August 6- Friday, August 17, 2012.  There is extended time to complete the essay exam after May 18.

Access course materials at times convenient to you and complete the following activities each week:

Virtual Instruction:  View and listen to Richard Sharpe from Competitive Insights teach for approximately 1 hour each week.
"Live" Discussions with Students World-Wide:  Participate in a virtual classroom discussion and answer 2-3 discussion questions each week.
Learn from Experts: There will be 60-100 pages of reading material assigned each week to supplement the instruction.  Learn from industry experts and the latest research.
Provide Risk Mitigation Strategies to the Leadership of your Organization:  As part of the course you will be required to write an essay exam to respond to an issue in supply chain risk mitigation by senior management.  The work completed in this course can be applied to the mitigation of supply chain risk for your organization.

Course Description
Supply Chain Risk Mitigation is designed to introduce the inter-dependent functions of supply chain management with an emphasis on operating in today's global environment.

It highlights how traditional supply chain management decisions are made and the risks that organizations are now facing regarding the potential disruption to company performance and the financial consequences of those disruptions to the supply chain.

The course concludes by focusing on the primary ways to create mitigation strategies that can be applied to add resiliency to the operation while balancing cost, service, and risk.  

Target Audience
Intended for individuals who are presently or have been recently been engaged in supply chain functionality, who are business continuity or risk management professionals, and/or who are in other functional areas but have an interest in learning how to mitigate supply chain disruptions for their organization.

Certification and Accreditation
Supply Chain Risk Mitigation is issued by The International Consortium for Organizational Resilience (www.theicor.org) and supported by The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.  (www.cscmp.org)

Successful completion of the Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Course requirements and passing the exam with an 80% or higher earns students an ANSI Accredited Certificate and the designation of Supply Chain Risk Associate (SCRA).

Registration Information  
Course Fee Information
Members of ICOR, CSCMP and ICOR Education Partners:  $1,057.50
Non-Members: $1,175.00

Class Dates:  August 6-17, 2012
This class runs once each quarter.  The next scheduled class will run October 8-19, 2012.

Online Registration

Download the Brochure

Questions?  Contact Lynnda@theicor.org or call toll free (North America) 1.866.765.8321 or +1.630.705/0910 (outside North America)

ASHTEAD, UK BridgeHead Software today released the full results from its second-annual Healthcare Data Management (HDM) survey which determined that healthcare IT leaders around the world consider disaster recovery and business continuity their most pressing data management need. Of the survey responders, 65% said their data volumes had increased over the previous year, yet only 26% said they had “robust, tried-and-tested” disaster recovery plans in place.

As BridgeHead reported in February, disaster recovery was voted the top healthcare IT investment priority for the second year in a row. The survey also confirmed that hospitals want more control over medical image data generated by Picture Archive and Communication Systems (PACS).

Jim Beagle, CEO of BridgeHead Software, said, “In the face of unstoppable data growth, it is becoming a serious challenge for hospitals to store and protect patient data while also making it available for clinicians in a timely manner at the point of care. Results from this year’s Healthcare Daa Management survey indicate that hospitals are still grappling with many of the same IT challenges they faced last year, particularly with regards to business continuity and disaster recovery.”

To combat these and other challenges, many hospitals are actively investing in data management technologies that give them more control over their information—a practice that has positive effects for several important areas of healthcare IT including: interoperability, data access, IT efficiency, reducing IT costs, energy efficiency and disaster recovery.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • 65% said data volumes had increased over the previous year, 30% did not know how much data volumes had changed, and 5% said data volumes had decreased or stayed the same
  • PACS applications were cited as the number-one reason for healthcare data growth (63%), followed by files held in the electronic health record (54%) and scanned documents such as proof of insurance (51%)
  • 90% said their facilities had a plan to go at least partially paperless with their electronic patient records
  • 32% said they planned to move to a new PACS within the next 5 years
  • 64% said their organisations had some kind of disaster recovery strategy in place, but the majority (38%) had never been tested
  • 35% said their facilities did not have a plan to reduce data centre carbon emissions
  • 45% said their facilities were planning a major storage upgrade (1 TB or more) in the next year.

To download an executive summary of the results from the survey, please visit www.bridgeheadsoftware.com/resources/download/456.

or follow BridgeHead Software on Twitter for the latest news and updates: @BridgeHeadHDM.

NEW YORK -- Insurance executives expect to focus much of their time and energy during the next two years on improving their organization's operational processes, navigating through regulatory changes, and enhancing technological capabilities in response to continued slow growth in the insurance sector, according to a recent survey by KPMG LLP, the audit, tax, and advisory firm.

When asked about the top initiatives, 22 percent of executives in the 2012 KPMG Insurance Industry Outlook survey cited the improvement of operations processes and related technology and 21 percent said navigating significant changes in the regulatory environment.  In comparing this response with last year's, the regulatory response jumped from 12 percent to 21 percent, while their focus on investment in organic growth dropped from 20 percent to 15 percent.

"Executives more clearly understand what a tough environment they are in and what it demands in terms of attention," said Laura Hay, national leader of KPMG LLP's insurance practice. "It isn't that they aren't also focused on growth, but in an environment of slow growth and tough pricing, insurers must focus on value creation through efficiency, innovation and client centricity."

In responding to a question on identifying the most significant growth barriers in the next year, 47 percent said pricing pressures, down from 59 percent in 2011, and 47 percent said regulatory and legislative pressures, up from 41 percent last year.

"Insurance execs have been concerned about increased Federal oversight," said David Sherwood, head of KPMG's U.S. insurance regulatory group.  "But in the past year consumer protection and risk management have taken center stage, and it has the potential to significantly change the landscape for insurers going forward."

Capital Spending Up, Technology Priority #1
Seventy percent of insurance executives say their companies have significant cash on the balance sheet, and that they plan to put it in play. Furthermore, 55 percent say they will be driving up their capital spending. The lion's share of the investment will be devoted to information technology, with 64 percent signaling that IT would be the focus, up from 49 percent a year ago.

"In this environment, insurers need to work smarter and maximize value," added Hay. "Technology can play a tremendous role in driving operational efficiency and the improvement of data usage in making strategic business decisions."

The three biggest technology areas to be funded were IT infrastructure, by far the largest, followed by customer growth or service, and data warehouses.   In terms of their plans to use digital/social/mobile technologies, the emphasis for now is on external brand promotion, for recruiting and for customer insight.  However, executives have identified strong opportunity to implement mobile technology, the thrust of which would be used for customer-facing mobile applications.

Other notable areas for investment include increased spending in new products/services at 41 percent, up from 34 percent, and 32 percent say the acquisition of a business. Supporting the investment in acquisition findings, nearly half of the executives (48 percent) say their companies will likely be involved in a merger/acquisition as a buyer in the next two years.

KPMG's Hay added "What we're seeing are firms focusing on their core strengths, divesting of certain assets or markets that don't fit those strengths and more aggressive M&A strategies."

Modest Outlook on Economy, Hiring
Executives expect modest economic growth ahead and aren't counting on any real turnaround in the economy in the near-term.  While 59 percent expect moderate improvement in the year, only two percent foresee significant improvement.  Furthermore, when asked when the economy as a whole will recover, 70 percent said by the end of 2014 or later.

Hiring projections are also muted, as many executives expect headcount to remain flat.  More than a quarter (28 percent) doesn't expect their companies to ever return to pre-recession headcount levels, and 16 percent of executives indicate that a lack of a qualified workforce is a significant growth barrier.

"These factors have made insurance companies focus more intently on their talent management initiatives, and they must focus on doing more with fewer resources," said Hay. "In this environment, talent can be a key differentiator in determining success."

In fact, insurance executives point to several key talent management focus areas over the next two years, including: performance management (40 percent), succession planning (39 percent), development/training (35 percent), retention (32 percent), and reward/compensation (25 percent) and acquisition/recruiting (25 percent). "There is no doubt that alignment of goals and incentives will be critical to achieving a company's talent management objectives" said Hay.

The KPMG survey was conducted in May 2012 and reflects the responses of 102 senior executives in the insurance industry.  Based on revenue in the most recent fiscal year, 27 percent of respondents work for institutions with annual revenues exceeding $10 billion, 41 percent with annual revenues in the $1 billion to $10 billion range, and 31 percent with revenues in the $100 million to $1 billion range.

KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.kpmg.com/us), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International.") KPMG International's member firms have 145,000 people, including more than 8,000 partners, in 152 countries.