The insurance industry has been transforming itself for several years now. Core systems modernization, Cloud and Mobility strategies, and investments in Insurtech startups are just a few of the ways in which insurers are re-positioning themselves for a sharper competitive edge. Another one of these key competitive edge areas is Customer Experience. The ability to provide key stakeholders – policyholders, agents, employees – with a seamless and simple interface to all of their insurance needs is the next big hill to climb for insurers. And that’s where using a Single Page Application (SPA) architecture can provide big dividends for insurers.
That said, there are a lot of things that can lead a developer astray. A typical React example of the kinds of development approaches that inhibit a good SPA approach is Prop Drilling. Prop Drilling refers to moving data to and from the React Component tree. However, as applications increase in complexity, Prop Drilling can have negative effects by passing unnecessary data down the React Component tree, increasing complexity and coupling. For example, typically developers should primarily be passing identifiers and iterators at the component level. Data that is more complicated in nature should always be passed with a service or a Redux selector. Below is an example of the complexity created by Prop Drilling:
One of the other inhibitors for insurers interested in moving to a SPA web application approach is the learning curve involved in doing so. The good news is, a strong tech lead that knows the library can teach React or Angular quickly to developers. At the beginning of the project the plan should account for fewer features to be completed, but as developers get up to speed a properly trained team will be more productive than untrained teams over the course of the project. The training and project ramp up can be accomplished in 2-3 weeks depending on a developer’s workload. Besides reviewing training videos and documentation, the key is hands on support, especially from pair programming (usually from an experienced outside consultant). Running a test skeleton project works best to get a feel for the tools and best practices specific to the project.
The bottom line for insurers is that the customer experience has gone from a background concern to front and center in the battle for service differentiation and market share. Insurers interested in joining the battle need a strategy for providing a richer and more intuitive customer service experience for their web applications and platforms. A Single Page Application Architecture may be a great place to start.
Jason Brown is a consultant at X by 2 who works on full stack enterprise web applications in the e-commerce and insurance domain. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Computer Science and Math.
Jeff Sallans is a senior consultant at X by 2 with a proven track record of designing and delivering enterprise applications in the Insurance, Retail and Financial Services industries. He has successfully led teams in every phase of the software development life cycle. Sallans holds a BS in Engineering and Computer Science Engineering, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.