Boston — In insurance, as in life, there is such a thing as too much off a good thing. Such is the case with product customization, which insurance carriers have long employed as a means of differentiation from their competitors.

Now, a new report from Boston-based Celent says insurers need to hew to certain principles when creating products, lest the costs of customization outweigh the benefits. The report, based primarily on interviews with insurance carrier staff that are involved in forms management, revealed that companies surveyed create an average of 989 new forms annually and retire only 249. Even more ominous, several respondents reported creating 10 times more forms than they retired. What’s more, two-thirds of panel respondents said that, ultimately, virtually everything about a typical product is customized.

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