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Project Blue Mountain venture designed to support offline activities.

In an effort to succeed where B2B insurance exchanges have largely failed, has embarked on Project Blue Mountain, an initiative to create an electronic network that will interface with customers' front- and back-office systems, facilitating the administration of risk and claims submission. Lloyds of London will be a principal investor in the venture, which is aimed at reducing the costs of transacting and administering business by avoiding duplication, error and poor data usage in transactions such as renewals, endorsements and delegated authority business.

Project Blue Mountain differs from insurance exchange initiatives in the recent past in that it does not seek to match buyers and sellers in a transaction environment, according to Ashok Gupta, CEO, Rather, it is meant to provide support to traditional off-line activities."It's not about all the back-office stuff; it's not about matching buyers and sellers," Gupta says. "It's about creating efficiencies for both brokers and underwriters to get more reliable data on which to base their decisions."

Emphasizing that Project Blue Mountain is an interim brand before a company is formally launched early next year, Gupta says a Web site was planned for launch in August of this year and a "working proposition" will be in live testing this fall. The venture's technology partners include Toronto-based CGI, which will contribute application development efforts, and Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, CA) which will assist in creating Project Blue Mountain's technical infrastructure. "We'll be looking to sign the first contracts with participant customers by the beginning of next year, but on a limited basis, in two or three classes of markets," Gupta adds.

Neutral Player

Having studied the largely unsuccessful efforts to create B2B exchanges, Gupta argues that Project Blue Mountain has the advantage of a kind of neutrality, consistent with the role Lloyds has traditionally played in the industry. "Lloyds is in the business of bringing together brokers and underwriters, so from that point of view it's an ideal sponsor to get this off the ground," he asserts.

From a systems point of view, the venture is "about connecting to customers and fitting into their systems, rather than having them connect to us," says Charles Moore, marketing director. "The level of change for a participant should be relatively small through our proposition, but the benefits that are accrued should be significant."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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