Microservices help insurers with scalable innovationBy Neil Spector | July 26, 2018
In this first installment of a two-part series on technology platforms that are revolutionizing the insurance industry, Verisk’s Tim Coyle gives a primer on microservices and their potential advantages for insurers.
Neil Spector: Tim, we hear a lot of talk lately about microservices. What exactly are they?
Tim Coyle: Microservices are a collection of well-defined programming codes or subroutines that—while isolated—enable complex functionality that can be developed, deployed, invoked, and managed independently. I often refer to microservices as green programming because we can reduce, reuse, and recycle our original work for many purposes. Essentially, each microservice becomes a building block to accomplish something much more complex.
Neil: What’s one critical way microservices can help insurers?
Tim: For Verisk and ISO, uptime is critical to our business. Microservices provide business continuity to our clients, seamlessly switching to redundant servers in real time if there’s a service outage.
Neil: How can microservices enable insurers to be agile and responsive?
Tim: Google has a body of research on “micro-moments” that occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They’re intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences are shaped quickly. Microservices enable insurers to meet the need for speed and take advantage of the moment.
Neil: How can microservices help to drive innovation?
Tim: One way is through compartmentalization, which is one aspect of microservices my team loves. Say an insurer has a request to enhance a service. We can test with a single instance, iterate, and when we want to roll out an enhancement to all customers, do it seamlessly behind the scenes—all enabled by these little bits of code.
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