Writing this month's cover story was more challenging than usual. Few insurance executives wanted to talk about offshore outsourcing-at least not "on the record." That's because the topic is incredibly sensitive these days."My staff doesn't know I'm here," one IT manager told me at the Outsourcing Forum hosted by this magazine in Tampa in February. Another attendee announced that protesters were picketing at another outsourcing conference taking place in Orlando that same week.

Still another executive admitted he hired an offshore outsourcing firm because business conditions left him no choice--but he did so only with the guarantee that none of his IT staff would lose their jobs. "You need to take care of your people," he said. "You don't want to leave that kind of legacy." Plus, he added, in the small town where his company is headquartered, everybody owns a gun. And he wasn't just joking.

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