Extracting Insurance Quotes

With each passing year, we see new products and services delivered through the Internet. Insurance quotes have been online since 1995 but some insurance carriers are still reluctant to get onboard. This insurance carrier wanted us to use their PC quote engine to automatically display quotes online.

Knowing that this would not be the last time this task was requested, we realized that trying to get the data from the PC by screen-scrubbing was out of he questions. It seemed that each month when carriers delivered their PC quoters, something in the screen layout had changed. This would make extracting the data from the PC screen, unreliable.

We opted for interfacing with the insurance carriers’ PC product through DLL interfaces. This required writing C/C++ and Visual Basic code to talk to the carriers’ executables.

Once a request was received from the website, the PC would query the carrier’s PC quoter for the correct quotes. Then the data was transferred back to the client’s web server and displayed using Perl.

In the long run, the client was very happy with this decision. This approach still requires some frequent changes due to interface changes from the carriers, but the amount of change is minuscule compared to the GUI changes.

Languages: C/C++, Visual Basic (VB), Perl, COM
Platforms: Windows, SunOS, Web