By R. Christopher Haines, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer

Do large numbers impress you? Do you pick your hamburgers based on things like “over 99 million served”? Or are you the kind of person who likes your hamburger from the place where the owner comes out and chats with you while you’re eating? A place that’s cold and corporate or a small, warm place? Because the big place has served so many people, and employs so many people globally, do they do it better? Is your objective to just take care of your hunger, or were you really after the best burger you could get?

Right now, we’re facing the same choices in insurance IT. So many service providers tout that they have 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 people working for them. That’s good. But what have they done? They also play fast and loose by saying things like, “We employ 1,000 insurance professionals.” Really? What makes them professionals? Did they work for insurance companies at one time? Did they take a two-week class? Did they buy homeowners insurance once? Did they see a television commercial on how to save up to $500 on car insurance?

Does size somehow equate to experience? If you pick the largest vendor, does this guarantee you’ll get the best service? On the flipside, if you pick an insurance technology vendor with only 25 people, are you destined to fail? Does employee count somehow suggest knowledge?

We’ve all heard stories about insurance companies not getting the results they expected from large organizations. Maybe it’s really possible to buy services affordably from large organizations. But as we all know, price isn’t the most important variable, especially when buying services. If price is your primary driver, you probably aren’t looking for the best alternative anyway. You might get the price you want, but you’re not likely to get the service you need.

Let’s go back to our burger: Is your objective to simply allay your hunger for the cheapest price from the big guys — or is it to get the best quality burger with the most personal service, which more often than not comes from Mom and Pop?

It’s okay to look at the big guys and everything they have going for them. But don’t overlook smaller companies and what they might be able to do for you based on their size alone. They might be just the thing to satisfy your appetite.