London insurance market pilots new electronic trading platform

London insurance firms are piloting a new electronic trading platform designed to replace the system of placing large-scale commercial insurance policies that currently relies on fax, email and face to face transactions.

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London insurance firms are piloting a new electronic trading platform designed to replace the system of placing large-scale commercial insurance policies that currently relies on fax, email and face to face transactions.

The new WritePlace platform, designed and implemented by IT services firm Atos Origin, is intended to make London’s 300 year old insurance market more cost-effective, meet changing regulatory requirements and maintain a competitive position against other markets around the world.

The London insurance market handles around 400,000 large scale commercial insurance policies a year, generating total premiums of £22bn. But the current fax, email and in-person system is estimated to cost between £150m and £200m a year.

The London Insurance Market specialises in complex bespoke insurance deals, which are considered difficult to negotiate without face to face contact, but the new platform is expected to automate a series of lower value processes, freeing brokers and underwriters to concentrate on more complex work.

WritePlace is based on a secure electronic trading platform that enables brokers and underwriters to exchange Acord standard XML messages and related documents by connecting their systems via a message hub.

The platform allows messaging exchanges between back-office systems, email, web browsers, mobile phones and PDAs, expanding current per to peer systems and allowing insurance firms to maximise the return on existing investment in systems.

Atos Origin will configure its existing message hub technology to meet the needs of the London insurance market and connect it with Sequel Business Solutions’ broking and underwriting applications. The pilot scheme will connect other broker and insurer applications as required, as well as setting up browser interface and implementing electronic endorsement and closing business processes.

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