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Nationwide Harnesses Alliance Management to “Cut through the Clutter” of a Highly Competitive Insurance Marketplace

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 3/21/2014

I repeatedly ran into the affable Vicente Rivera, CSAP, during interludes between sessions at last week’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., USA. After the long, cold winter we’ve experienced in our home states, we both gravitated to the sunny balcony outside the conference meeting halls. Vinnie, as he prefers to be called, is associate vice president of strategic alliance management, Nationwide Direct and Affinity Solutions. As two insurance industry veterans who also live and breathe alliances and collaboration, we were quickly talking shop.

Insurance, like many mature industries, is experiencing significant disruption and heightened competition. New entrants, new technologies, and new consumer behaviors are shaking up the market. Established players are challenged to adopt new business models and strategies that will allow them to evolve, remain profitable, and serve their customers. Nationwide, for instance, is a traditional, very customer-focused mutual insurance company. But it has embraced strategic alliances (and structured management of its other partnerships) as a key competitive strategy. Vinnie says that alliance management capability directly helps the company differentiate its offering and better meet the needs of its customers.

Vinnie agreed to be interviewed for a column I wrote this week for As our discussion reflects, insurers like Nationwide now view partnering as a strategic capability, so they are very serious about the implications of each partnership and have become sophisticated alliance management practitioners to drive alignment and ensure that value is delivered to all stakeholders.

“Alignment is very important and we are very disciplined when looking at partners,” Vinnie said in my interview. “We want to make sure not only that they are long-term relationships, and that they bring value to our customers, but also that they are able to bring value to their constituents as well. We are very relationship based.”

In our conversations in Scottsdale and again this week, Vinnie was also very clear on the value his organization and its alliance management department receive from ASAP.

“We’re using many tools we’ve been able to develop because we’re ASAP members, and these help us at the start of an alliance, from the memorandum of understanding all the way through to the contract." Other tools “help us run effective collaborative meetings, engage leadership in our steering committees, and build leadership alignment,” he continued, adding, “I also really enjoyed the Summit this year—the reception [after the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards ceremony] was a lot of fun.”

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