The term "Web service" was coined only three years ago, according to Celent Communications Inc. And, already, U.S. insurers are spending roughly $78 million--or 5% of their integration dollars--on Web services-related initiatives (see "Web Services Spending By Insurers," page 14).What's more, by 2006, more than 40% of insurers' new systems integration spending will involve Web services, the Boston-based research and advisory firm predicts.

Indeed, Web services promise to greatly simplify application integration, and thereby significantly reduce costs associated with integration. But the main obstacle to companies fully embracing the technology has been security.

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