It may be an old joke, but it's not a laughing matter: The only people who really understand the legacy policy administration systems running at most insurance carriers have either retired or passed on.Nonetheless, most carriers are reluctant to replace these systems, preferring to live with the devil they know, even though their systems may impose limits on their operational flexibility.

As the money-saving advantages of Web-based communication become more obvious, many carriers are trying to bring their legacy systems into the 21st century using various front-ends, translators and middleware systems. However, a growing number of insurers are taking a bolder step by replacing their legacy systems with new platforms.

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