Product lifecycle management (PLM) systems promise carriers the ability to create new products, reuse components and manage products over their lifecycles in a starkly more efficient manner. However, many life insurers aren't biting, as growth of PLM technology has been tepid and may get even weaker. Factors stalling adoption are insurers' severe financial constraints, addiction to legacy systems, or their concern that they must first have a new overarching product development strategy before making such a drastic technology shift. Yet, there are those who are staunchly touting PLM systems as vital in their drive to get a leg up on competitors, in particular, by getting products to market more quickly.

Before implementing PLM systems, which are designed to help insurers understand and manage product data from the product's inception to its retirement, some insurers see the need to cultivate an internal cultural and behavioral shift so these systems can be implemented effectively. For instance, if insurers are looking for actuaries to start modeling their products on such a system rather than using their Excel spreadsheets and much of their historical data, then not only do processes change, but a cultural change also is required.

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