A customized microservices plan keeps this surplus lines service office on the cutting edge of the insurance space

INDUSTRY
Financial Services

HEADQUARTERS
Tallahassee, FL

SERVICES
Microservices Assessment

The Story

Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) is a state-formed non-profit that is a guardian of good dealings between the surplus lines insurance market and the state government. Their job is to ensure compliance with state regulations, advise consumers, and protect the state’s tax revenue.

For over 20 years, FSLSO has been a technology leader among stamping offices. They were the first to support the digital submission and maintenance of policy documentation and information, which significantly cuts costs related to manual processes. Their proprietary filing system, known as the Surplus Lines Automation Suite (SLAS), has been adopted by 11 states across the nation and processes more than one-third of U.S. surplus lines premiums annually.

FSLSO recognizes the role that technology plays in operating effectively and delivering the utmost value to customers. In order to continue delivering more, they decided to bring the SLAS system up to date. They needed a partner versed in microservices architecture to drive their legacy of technology innovation into the future. We came in to evaluate the existing architecture, uncover new needs, and deliver a complete roadmap for building SLAS NextGen.

Through our engagement with Headspring, we gained critical knowledge of microservices, DevOps, and project delivery best practices. Their team was friendly and extremely knowledgeable, delivering a thorough assessment that will get us to both our short- and long-term modernization goals fast.

Tiffany Andersen

Product & Business Development Manager, Florida Surplus Lines Service Office

Challenges

  • The monolithic SLAS application was built in VB.net in horizontal layers, which created complex dependencies between services​
  • Heavy usage of stored procedures, database coupling, and synchronous processing made changes difficult and elevated the risk of failure
  • The user interface was out of date and performance was lagging—SLAS also needed a User Experience upgrade
  • In order to scale the value of SLAS, they would need to break the application into microservices
  • The client wanted an independent, third-party assessment of the current and proposed architecture and DevOps processes to tackle a microservices project

Solution

  • Assessed the current tech stack and interviewed all 26 employees to understand the technology as well as users’ processes, pain points, and goals. Also held discovery sessions with the third-party development team. ​
  • Created mockups for highest-priority microservices and developed UI automation and integration tests
  • Built a DevOps foundation: Recommended tactics for streamlining the build process and adopting observability tooling, completing a sample implementation. Created a Confluence space to improve collaboration and restructured Jira workflows.
  • Developed the NextGen SLAS runbook outline and disaster and recovery plan to ensure business continuity

Results

  • FSLSO has a full microservices architecture, backlog, and project delivery roadmap for NextGen SLAS
  • DevOps team understands how to improve testing and monitoring
  • Product and Business Development and IT teams are equipped with tools and processes that will accelerate development and documentation
  • Stakeholders have a shared understanding of the costs and benefits of microservices versus monolithic applications
  • The solution will lead to a faster, more reliable, scalable, and supportable system that delivers better experiences for users

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