For many years, building computer software applications was the modus operandi in the insurance industry. "No one knows our business," was the common refrain.Since then, software vendors customized their products for the industry, and buying prepackaged software applications has become the preference.

"Insurance companies, especially the smaller companies with revenues under $5 billion, are moving much more to software packages in the last couple of years," says Marc Cecere, vice president of Forrester Research Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based technology and market research company.

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