Although the hype surrounding offshore insurance business process outsourcing (BPO) is rising, insurers are reluctant to "go there" with their core processes. Meanwhile, the vendors have not yet proven their domain expertise. This is according to recent research conducted by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

Offshore BPO sounds promising, since insurers theoretically can save by moving staffing and operations to developing regions, such as India, China, South Africa or the Phillipines, says Kimberly Harris, research director at Gartner. However, in reality, initiating and managing offshore BPO will be a challenge for insurers through 2007, she says.

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