NRMA Insurance eyes outsourcing

Insurance giant IAG has confirmed it is currently examining bids from a number of technology outsourcing partners to support its NRMA Insurance brand, amongst rumours that the company will offload a portion of its technology operation to a provider in India.

Insurance giant IAG has confirmed it is currently examining bids from a number of technology outsourcing partners to support its NRMA Insurance brand, amongst rumours that the company will offload a portion of its technology operation to a provider in India.

In response to claims by a source last week that the company was considering outsourcing a chunk of work to one of three Indian service providers — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services or Wipro — the NRMA Insurance brand of IAG today confirmed that the company is looking for external assistance, but wouldn't name names.

"NRMA Insurance is seeking external IT support and is currently considering a number of providers to assist us in our ongoing operational activity," it said. They would not go into further detail about the nature of the services that could be outsourced.

The source had claimed that no redundancies would be made in the company's ranks, although the company would cut its current contractor base back.

"We've shared this news with our people — there is no impact on them, and they will continue to support our business," NRMA Insurance said. "We will also continue to use IT contractors and will be better placed to understand what support we will require from contractors as we bring external support on board."

The news comes as India takes a front seat in the strategy of major Australian organisations.

ANZ Bank operates its own substantial offshore facility in Bangalore, India, where it has been steadily increasing its headcount over the years — the number had been estimated at 3500 as at early 2010.

Australian IT services firm Oakton has a substantial facility in Hyderabad, India, and in February this year it said that 50 per cent of the staff to join its ranks over the next six months would be based in India. Meanwhile, in February 2010, IBM Australia was cagey about allegations by the Australian Services Union that it would shift as many as 800 local jobs to offshore locations in India and China.

The trend is even being felt at the small end of the business world.

In May 2010, local web business accelerator Pollenizer — which sits right at the heart of the technology start-up community in Australia and has helped build several successful start-ups such as group buying site Spreets — revealed that it had grown its development team in India from just a couple of engineers to a team of about 50 staff. At the time, the company was looking to build its team in Trivandrum, Kerala.

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