During our tenure, which has spanned
everything from claims management to
business process outsourcing, we have
had responsibilities that included vendor management. Our biggest frustrations were vendors who tried to make
our processes fit into their product
rather than taking the proactive role of
innovating their products to improve
To really understand what carriers are
looking for, we decided to reach out and
ask. In speaking with claims and procurement executives at a variety of leading
national and international carriers, we
learned a few key things.
What carriers want
Carriers want an ecosystem of reliable
business partners with the ability to
affect everything from indemnity and
expenses to customer service and re-
tention. This is driven by the following
seven key areas.
Industry specificity: Many vendors
have interesting and innovative solutions,
yet know nothing about the property and
casualty space. Without this niche knowledge, it becomes very difficult for a vendor
to adapt key solutions to your business.
Experience: Rome wasn’t built in a
day — and solutions aren’t either. A new,
off the shelf product may be appealing in
some business sectors, but not in the more
conservative insurance space. Rather, providing proven solutions without a history
of litigation that require limited or no carrier IT resources are better options.
Delivery: Do not over-promise and
under deliver. If a solution is going to take
six months to implement, that timeline
transparency is critical. If capacity has to
be built, provide an accurate time-frame.
Be up front about a need to grow to fit the
new business. Not being forthright leads
to false expectations and erodes trust in
the carrier/vendor relationship.
Testimonials and references: Having
references to tout capabilities is para-
mount to building a long and trusting
partnership. It is critical that a vendor’s
past clients can attest to successful en-
gagements, ease of doing business, timeli-
ness of delivery and ability to work within
Customer service: Just as carriers are
focused on taking care of their customers,
so too should vendors. It is not uncom-
mon for a prospect to call a vendor’s cus-
tomer service hotline to evaluate response
times, attitudes of support staff and how
completely questions were answered.
Costs: Insurers understand the time
value of money. A meaningful discussion on the actual costs, when all benefits
are considered, can show a substantially
larger yield than cheaply, commoditized
Terms of the contract: Based on the
contracts we have done over the years, it
seems that sticking points come down to
two primary issues: indemnification and
limits of liability.
There are many unrealistic asks, often by both sides. Finding a happy medium to protect both sides is always the
key to success and the development of a
Chris Tidball (chris.tidball@exlservice.
com) is vice president of claims
transformation strategy at EXL. His
career has spanned 25 years in the
P&C industry. Sean Allen ( sean.allen2@
exlservice.com) is vice president of
EXL with over 19 years of business
development and strategy experience.
7 Keys to Successful
For many years, procurement was simply the department that bought and sold services. This outdated view ignored the fact that suppliers are critical to finding success in the market and attaining
profitability. Today, they should be considered as a part of the overall
business strategy that will give your company a competitive advantage.