Talk concerning the benefits that Web services can bring to the insurance industry has run rampant during the past few years. But talk is cheap-and Web services, on the other hand, can be expensive. That leaves one perplexing question: When will carriers actually let go of the purse strings and invest in this promising technology?Certainly, all the chatter about Web services should make insurance companies interested in-or at the very least curious about-the vast potential that the technology holds. Based on open, standard protocols, primarily XML, Web services expose an application or data on one computer to requests from other computers without using proprietary interface languages.

With Web services, insurers can easily integrate internal applications, presenting a consistent view of business data over multiple applications through structured and controlled transactions.

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