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Microservices help insurers succeed when timing matters

By Neil Spector  |  September 13, 2018

In this second installment of a two-part series on technology platforms that are revolutionizing the insurance industry, Verisk’s Jason Polayes shares some opinions on trends and best practices in microservices.

Neil Spector: Jason, what are some technology challenges you’ve witnessed in the insurance world, and what advice would you give to insurers? 

Jason Polayes: Legacy systems have been a major hurdle for traditional insurers. In some ways, through outdated technology and processes, we’ve opened the door for InsurTech start-ups to disrupt the industry. I would advise insurers to keep an open mind to leveraging technology and not be afraid of moving away from “business as usual.”

Verisk senior product leader Jason Polayes.

NEIL: How can microservices enable insurers to be agile and responsive?

JASON: Sometimes in insurance, we see “micro-moments,” those times when people have a need and use some kind of web-enabled device to pursue it. Micro-moments are really about fulfilling the whims of the consumer for real-time evaluation and purchases. The need for speed is most apparent under these circumstances, and Verisk is using microservices to help insurers meet that need and leverage these lightning-fast opportunities when they arise. This has definite implications for new business acquisition and retention. And we’re using microservices when timing matters most to define these triggers and refine risk assessment.

Here are two examples of how insurers can leverage microservices: quickly winning new business online and optimizing resources. In the case of LightSpeed Auto, we’re asking three questions—name, address, and date of birth—to retrieve the underwriting and rating data necessary to provide a bindable quote with one rate call. Microservices and advanced analytics help us corroborate data across numerous information sources, with selectable filters based on the number of “hits,” timeliness, and completeness of records. In the blink of an eye, we can even evaluate the potential for fraud. If it’s low, we can fast-track the processing of what we refer to as a “verified super-lead.”

NEIL: Let’s talk about how microservices can enhance the customer experience, because I know that’s driving a lot of your innovative work.

JASON: In my work with LightSpeed Auto, we’re using microservices to identify and verify multiple hits against multiple data sources at the start of the quote workflow. A typical online insurance quote involves 10 to 35 questions and takes 7 to 20 minutes or more to complete. Meanwhile, 30 percent of prospects never make it through the sales funnel. Plus, another third are up-rated after the initial quote in what the industry refers to as Rate Call 2, and more than half of those prospects will not purchase.

Clearly, not a great customer experience—and filled with hidden reputational costs, dissatisfied prospects, and missed opportunities. We’re using microservices to enable insurers to compete in the InsurTech revolution by realizing real-time auto insurance acquisition with just three questions, two minutes of the consumer’s time, and one platform. Our initial testing shows that insurers that do this can boost conversion rates by 50-85 percent.

NEIL: What about security and scalability? How can insurers leverage microservices and technology platforms toward achieving these two goals?

JASON: Think of blockchain and some of the “building block” technologies that have evolved. Layering microservices, checks and balances, thresholds, analytics—all of these create a safer environment for sensitive information. And just like a child’s rendering with Legos, the life-size version can be scaled up. In the case of microservices, we can do this with surprising ease.


Neil Spector is President of ISO, a Verisk business. You can contact him at nspector@verisk.com.