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P&C Platform Signs UK Firms

Project Blue Mountain will brand as Kinnect.

The Lloyd's of London-sponsored Project Blue Mountain (PBM) commercial lines hub, announced in mid-2002, has moved into its next phase as London-based insurers andbrokers signed letters of intent to participate on the platform. Signing companies include brokers Marsh (London operation) and Willis, plus four major insurers, ACE European Group, Amlin, Beazley and Wellington, which are now beginning implementation. Planned to go live this fall, the platform will launch under the Kinnect brand.

Together the six signing companies constitute 20 percent of the Lloyd's insurance market's British Sterling 14.4 billion capacity. Their participation, beginning in the property and professional liabilities lines of business, provides a "critical mass" for sparking a successful launch of the commercial lines hub, according to Ashok Gupta, CEO, PBM. "Once you've got six significant companies implementing in those risk segments, then they start to bring along their trading partners," he says. Also, because a large portion of the London market orginates in the US, "working with the initial customers will help to generate critical mass in the US," he adds.

The PBM/Kinnect platform is an important step in the right direction, but its value proposition is likely to be influenced by the progress of data standards usage in the industry, according to Craig Weber, a Boston-based analyst with Celent Communications. "Over time I think the pricing of this platform is going to be a question," Weber says. While insurers and brokers will clearly benefit from such a hub, "as carriers get experience with data standards, will it make sense to have somebody else in the middle of their transactions? How are they going to rationalize that expense?"

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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