Nearly half of the top 200 U.S. insurance carriers are using offshore services, according to Celent Communications Inc., Boston. Among the carriers working with outsourcing firms that provide at least some offshore services are: Guardian Life, Manulife, Sun Life, Fireman's Fund, Farmer's Insurance Group, Allmerica, PacifiCare Health Systems, Abbey Life and Royal & Sun Alliance.But try to get an insurance executive to talk about outsourcing these days--especially offshore outsourcing--and you won't find many takers. Several large insurance carriers declined to be interviewed for this article. And, at a recent Insurance Networking News outsourcing conference in Tampa, Fla., several IT managers from smaller insurance companies said they did not want their employees to know they were attending.

That's because offshore outsourcing is taking a beating in the political arena in this election year. And, like any company in any industry, carriers that outsource-or are even thinking about it-are trying to avoid the bad publicity and employee demoralization that can go along with sending work overseas.

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