Blog

Looking at SOA? SafeAuto Sees the Benefits

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 30, 2010

From what I've been seeing in recent years, the insurance industry has been doing a pretty good job with service-oriented architecture. With a large legacy install base (Celent estimates that 52% of the systems in the insurance industry are still older systems) and a need for plenty of network interfaces (to pass data with agents and brokers, as well as consumers online), the industry is a natural candidate for service orientation.

However, these systems were originally designed for internal use by maybe a few hundred employees, and not built for relentless pounding by thousands of outside users. These systems need to be brought up to speed—literally—to handle transactions in a Web-based, service-oriented setting. Such was the experience with SafeAuto Insurance Co., as described by Rob Barry in a recent post on the company's SOA journey.

The insurer moved its car insurance quoting process from a call center model to a SOA-based Web application. The SOA runs a variety of applications types, including .NET and Java, and currently supports about 25 different Web services.

As with all SOA projects, the effort unveiled shortcomings in the existing infrastructure, including application performance not up to the company's standards. The challenge was to be able to monitor the performance of applications that are taking on the new workloads arising from SOA. An application performance management system was required.

For a company that relies heavily on online consumer engagement, such as SafeAuto, robust application uptime and performance means the difference been competitive edge and sure trouble. Last fall, I conducted a survey in partnership with Unisphere Media/ITI among members of the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) on this very topic. We asked respondents for their experiences as online buyers, and as managers behind the scenes of e-business sites. If an online application fails, meaning it freezes up or kicks the user out, 57% would simply abandon the transaction and go elsewhere—likely to a competitor. Fifteen percent would not bother to do business with that online vendor.

For insurers relying more and more on online business, that's a data point worth keeping in mind as new services are designed.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of Enterprise BI

When IT can't deliver, business users build their own applications focusing on agility, flexibility and reaction times.

The IT-Savvy 10%

IBM survey reveals best practices of IT leaders.

The Software-Defined Health Insurer: Radical But Realistic?

Can a tech startup digitally assemble the pieces of a comprehensive, employer-provided health plan?

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.