MSP Alliance Announces Marketing Agreement With AIG

"The MSP Alliance and AIG are now jointly marketing managed services to business customers," said Scott, whose law firm, ScottScott, specializes in compliance issues. "AIG has been a leader in insuring the tech sector. They were the first to bring corporate identity theft insurance to the marketplace."

In a short keynote, Scott also announced the MSP Alliance's new vendor accreditation program, health care and benefits advisory resources for Alliance members, and the formulation of an MSP consumer bill of rights.

The partnership with underwriter National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, an AIG member, is a marketing agreement in which AIG will educate its brokers and policy holders on the benefits of working with qualified MSPs, said Nancy Callahan, vice president of AIG's identity theft and fraud division.

"We appreciate the quality standards that are built into the accreditation program. So we know accredited MSPs are adhering to industry best practices," Callahan said. "We see the synergy in that customers who have quality managed services will be better for us to insure, while for our policy holders it will be in our interest to steer them to qualified managed service providers."

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MSP Alliance member Adam Blumberg found the announcement "intriguing."

"I want to find out how to access the firms AIG provides tech insurance for in the Gulf Coast region, so we can take advantage of this," said Blumberg, president of Truistic Solutions in Houston, Texas.

But Mike Backers, president of Cincinnati-based Altoria Solutions and an MSP Alliance board member, saw the AIG relationship as more of a selling point than a lead generator.

"In my eyes, this isn't a lead referral program. For years, we've seen organizations trying to put a dollar figure on risk," Backers said. "What this does is when you go out and talk to your customers, you can say you are affiliated with AIG, which puts a dollar figure on risk. This is a tool that we have to go out and sell."

AIG is the fourth-largest company in the world, according to the 2006 Forbes Global 2000 list.

Meanwhile, MSP Alliance president Charles Weaver challenged the channel to keep pace with the standards set by accredited MSPs, speaking briefly before introducing keynote speaker Scott.

"The members of the MSP Alliance remained steadfast, even when managed services were out of vogue. Today, everybody wants a piece of managed services. It would not be wrong to say that the IT channel is managed services," said the head of the 1,500-member trade association. "But there are companies that would tear this down. These commodity advocates, as I label them, view you as replaceable brokers, whose only purpose is to sell their products and solutions.

"But you need to let them know that you will not be defined by them."