TOWERGROUP: INSURANCE CARRIERS ARE EMBRACING SERVICE-ORIENTED ARCHITECTURE (SOA)

London - 18 October 2006

The insurance industry is rapidly embracing Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), as well as related Web services and standards, according to new TowerGroup research conducted in partnership with ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development), a global, nonprofit insurance association.

The comprehensive industry survey was designed to gain an understanding of the readiness, state of adoption, and challenges of SOA, Web services and use of standards across the insurance industry. In executing this research, TowerGroup interviewed senior leadership executives at over 12 carriers and conducted over 150 hours of data gathering and analysis across the industry (covering property & casualty, life & annuity and reinsurance).

Key findings of the study, which will be published later this month include:

- The industry is moving forward quickly with the adoption of SOA, Web services and standards
- SOA is viewed as a philosophy, an evolution of prior technology advances by the insurance carriers
- Web services is seen as a critical technology vehicle for implementing SOA
- Shared standards are the “DNA” of SOA, with carriers recognizing the need to detail specifications to a very granular level

The research shows that while industry leaders are being quiet about their progress in this area, they are quickly advancing along a path that leverages SOA concepts, technology tools, and techniques – linking technology plans and architectures to core business strategies. These carriers have a single goal in mind: to harness the use of technology and automation, to transform their businesses and gain / sustain competitive advantage.

One of the most compelling findings, according to Deb Smallwood, managing director of the TowerGroup Insurance practice, “is a gap between the insurance carrier’s requirements and what is perceived to be available in the market place. Whether this perceived gap is accurate or not, carriers are moving forward.”

TowerGroup is currently conducting the next phase of this SOA-related research – as a multi-client study focused on the vendor community’s adoption of SOA, Web services and standards. In this research, TowerGroup will uncover the truth behind the perceived gap between carriers and vendors.

“We believe that SOA, Web services and standards are the key components to leverage to meet the evolving demands of the insurance industry. Vendors have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in meeting these emerging demands.” said Mark Gorman, strategic advisor for TowerGroup’s Insurance practice.

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