Five Things You Should Know Before Selecting a BPO Partner

Publication: Insurance & Technologyh
September 1, 2009
By Lisa Hastings, Kaplan Compliance Solutions

In today’s environment, insurance carriers face growing pressure from regulators relating to producer licensing and market conduct issues. Carriers are questioning whether it is enough to be merely compliance-competent. To adopt industry leading best practices and achieve service excellence, the resources of a Business Process Outsource specialist are essential.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the end-to-end outsourcing of a business line or process, can boost business performance by reducing costs, increasing the quality of processes, accelerating transformation throughout a business, creating a more flexible response to sudden external stresses, or through a combination of several benefits.

While this sounds ideal, below are five things you should look for in a BPO partner if your company is considering outsourcing a process or an entire business line:

1. SAS 70 certification.

This certification (technically an opinion letter) signifies that a service organization or provider has adequate controls and safeguards in place when they host or process data belonging to their customers. Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SAS 70 reports are critical to companies that use web-based software applications and are involved in exchanging confidential information. The SAS 70 audit report both documents and attests to the adequacy and completeness of the SAS vendor’s internal controls for protecting data. You should require a level II which ensures the stated controls have also been thoroughly tested.

2. Service level agreements.

Service benchmarks—and a work guarantee from your outsourcing partner—are important because they ensure the BPO vendor will accurately complete the work on your behalf. Make sure these are well defined in the scope of work and both parties are aware of what needs to happen if the service levels aren’t met.

3. An experienced, expert staff.

There is no substitute for experience. This is especially true in today’s ever changing and increasingly complex insurance and financial services industry. Staying up to date with new and changing industry requirements and regulations can be challenging. When outsourcing key business functions your BPO partner should stay current with the latest industry trends and processes.

4. The ability to efficiently and accurately manage the required work.

Make sure your BPO partner is properly staffed with the appropriate number of employees to manage the work load/volumes.

5. References.

Talk to other clients who have worked with the vendor. Ask questions about the vendor’s customer service, how they react to changing business processes and the value they bring to your organization.About the author: Lisa Hastings is Senior Vice President, Client Services at Kaplan Compliance Solutions. She can be reached at

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