The insurance industry may be a conservative lot, but I've noticed they have been ahead of the curve with Web services. The industry's big challenge is that carriers rely on networks of independent or semi-independent agents up front, but run a lot of mainframes in the back. The insurance industry group ACORD
, originally founded to create EDI standards, has done a good job of creating and promoting the industry's flavor of XML and other Web services.
A recent article
describes how Hartford Financial Services Group has rounded out its Web services/SOA implementation with a UDDI
registry. I've had the opportunity to speak with the Hartford folks on several occasions. They have been fairly well advanced in Web services and implementation of ACORD XML. UDDI is helping Hartford's system architects quickly identify and reuse Web services components that are available for deployment.
When I spoke with Hartford last spring, they were engaged in an effort to reuse the same technology used for external interfaces to agents to achieve internal data integration, particularly in processing property, auto and workers' compensation data. My article on the insurance industry's approach to Web services can be found here