Press Release

Willis Group turns to Couchbase’s NoSQL database for resilient risk analytics

Innovative Insurer Embraces NoSQL Database Solution to Improve Application Speed and Reliability

London, UK – February 24, 2014 - Willis Group, a global insurance broker, has selected Couchbase Server Enterprise Edition to improve the performance of its Risk Analytics systems.

With 400 offices in 120 countries, Willis introduced Couchbase, a leading provider of NoSQL database technologies, as the de facto NoSQL database solution for a number of its business critical and customer facing applications. These include GIS applications for analysing the risks associated with specific geographic locations and high performance datamarts for analytics. Couchbase Server is also increasing speed, reliability and performance for Willis Group’s core Risk Analytics platform.

The global analytics team tested a number of NoSQL technologies, but found Couchbase Server Enterprise Edition was the clear leader given its:

  • High availability through replication and auto-failover
  • Massive scalability which can handle millions of data items
  • Built in cache layer to deliver excellent caching performance
  • Flexible data model for ease of storing unstructured data
  • Easy integration with the existing Microsoft development environment

“Couchbase is used as a fundamental part of Willis Group’s risk analytic systems. The in-memory computing it enables has provided Willis Group’s risk analytics system with the high-performance, reliability and scalability to tackle big data challenges,” said Nigel Davis, Managing Director, Head of Platforms and Delivery, Global Analytics at Willis Group.

As well as its risk projects, the team uses Couchbase to support the Willis Research Network, which includes more than 50 science institutes. It is a unique engagement between the private and public sector that integrates science, insurance and resilience at a scale never before envisaged.

Davis added “Beyond performance, reliability is a critical factor. Any downtime has an adverse effect on day-to-day operations because these are business critical applications”.

David Maitland, General Manager, EMEA, at Couchbase said: “Businesses like the Willis that are moving mission critical applications to a NoSQL deployment to have a solution that is flexible and can easily scale. Additionally, each new step forward must be reliable beyond question as even small outages can have a drastic impact on the business. The team at Willis has created an impressive eco-system of data applications leveraging Couchbase Server, that makes it an innovative leader in a very competitive sector.”

A full case study is available on


About Willis Group

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,500 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events.

Find more information at our website,, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world. Willis Global Wealth Solutions was established in 2012 and has operations in Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich.

About Couchbase

At Couchbase, we believe data is at the heart of the enterprise. We empower developers and architects to build, deploy, and run their most mission-critical applications. Couchbase delivers a high-performance, flexible, and scalable modern database that runs across the data center and any cloud. Many of the world’s largest enterprises rely on Couchbase to power the core applications their businesses depend on. For more information, visit

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