Insurers have an increasing comfort level with agile development methodologies a new report from New York-based Novarica finds.

The report, U.S. Insurers and Agile Development, is based on a survey of 64 insurer CIOs and looks at the usage of agile in creating and modifying both internally developed and vended software.

One interesting finding of the report was where insurers chose to use agile development. While agile methodologies have a strong foothold in areas such as new application development, the practice is less established in areas like the maintenance of vended applications. Indeed, 44% of respondents said they would not consider agile for vended application maintenance, only 6% said they would not use it for new product development.

The report, authored by Novarica Director and Head of the Insurance Practice Matthew Josefowicz, Principal Chad Hersh, and Knowledge Manager & Senior Researcher Steven Kaye, also found usage of agile development varied according to carrier size. A sizeable number of large insurers not considering it at all, while midsize insurers were generally more open to agile development but are still searching for its appropriate role.

Although the move to agile development from traditional waterfall methodologies offers significant advantages, it also entails much work, including the retraining IT and business staff and the reorganization of governance processes.

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