As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Juan Carlos Robles Navarro, Senior Software Engineer at AXA Seguros, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver the insurance company's claims-management system. Here's what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about AXA Seguros and the services you offer.

Navarro: AXA Seguros in Mexico is part of the AXA Group, which offers insurance solutions to consumers and businesses worldwide. We strive to be a leader in our industry, providing financial protection through a wide range of products and services that meet customers' insurance protection, savings, retirement, and financial planning needs.

MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that AXA Seguros faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?

Navarro: We recognize that a key ingredient to attaining success in the competitive insurance industry is speedy claims resolution. We used a basic web form for agents to submit claims and then employees manually entered information from the form into a claims-management system for resolution, which was an inefficient method. In addition, the system was technologically obsolete and, therefore, was inflexible and expensive to maintain. We definitely needed a new claims-management system that could scale and grow with our business and one that wasn't costly to develop and maintain.

MSDN: Can you describe the solution you built with the Windows Azure platform to address your need for cost-effective scalability?

Navarro: We worked with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner EMLink to develop a new claims-management system for the Windows Azure platform. We use Windows Azure for compute processing and Microsoft SQL Azure for storing customer information and claim-resolution details, which we easily migrated from our existing on-premises solution. The system has custom workflows that route claims to the appropriate department for resolution and then back to the agent, and it creates alerts that notify employees when action needs to be taken on a customer's behalf.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Navarro: One thing that really stands out is that our development expertise lies mainly in Java and we were hesitant to adopt unfamiliar technology. However, despite having no prior experience with the Microsoft .NET Framework or the C# programming language, two developers built the solution in less than two months. As a result, developers can focus on business logic, deliver a product that lets us resolve claims expeditiously, and meet our business goals. Now we can focus less on the IT infrastructure and more on insurance processes.

MSDN: What kinds of benefits is AXA Seguros realizing with Windows Azure?

Navarro: In addition to quick development time, we were also able to deploy the solution much more rapidly than if we had to procure servers for an on-premises solution. By relying on the infrastructure that Microsoft always has ready, we were able to reduce our deployment time by more than half. We also avoided one-time capital costs of U.S.$10,000 and will save 65 percent over three years on monthly operational costs.

 Read the full story at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000007933

 To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit:  www.windowsazure.com/evidence