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Microservices help insurers with scalable innovation

By 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.

Verisk’s Neil Spector, president of ISO, right, and Tim Coyle, chief information officer and senior vice president at ISO, discuss how microservices can help insurers be agile and responsive..

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.


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

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