Of the major concerns for claim officers are a soft business environment, work force issues and technology challenges, which all are worsened by an unstable economy, according to a recent survey by Towers Watson.

The survey finds that profitability is the top business challenge for respondents at 71 percent. Top-line growth comes in at 63 percent and a competitive environment is next at 52 percent. Regarding claim-related issues work force management is the biggest challenge at 77 percent of respondents. Work force management includes employee oversight, attracting and retaining talented workers, building bench strength and keeping morale high. Technology innovation is the next highest at 54 percent and financial results are cited at 48 percent.

"We believe that claim officers expect the challenges generated by the current business environment to continue," says Kathleen Cullen, Towers Watson senior consultant and coauthor of the report. "These challenges are both claim related and work force driven, and are connected to overall operation and efficiency of the claim function, and to management of a transitional work force."

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