The New Build Vs. Buy Debate: Is This the Agony of the Core Insurance Package?

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5 February 2018

The build versus buy debate has always been part of the discussions in insurance core system replacement projects. However, insurers’ preferences have varied over the years.

Key research questions

  • What are the drivers for today’s build versus buy debate?
  • Will insurers prefer engineering their own insurance platform in the future?
  • What should insurance system vendors be doing?


It is still unclear whether most insurers will consider engineering their own insurance platforms going forward. However, they now have more arguments to consider this option.

With the growing demand for more open and integrable systems and the emergence of technologies such as DevOps, APIs, and microservices, insurers see the opportunity to engineer their own insurance platform. In addition, there are opportunities to fragment the value chain and integrate insurtech in crucial elements of their insurance suite. In this report, Celent describes what could be the future of core insurance systems under the influence of these new technologies and startups.

In our regular conversations and projects with insurers, we discuss the state of the technology offering and whether purchasing a component or an end-to-end policy administration system on the market is more appropriate than a bespoke development. For some years the answer has clearly been in favour of buy. More recently, this build versus buy debate seems to be getting louder among insurers.