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IBM to Run New Lloyd’s Exchange

The new, ACORD-compliant messaging service is based on the imarket electronic trading network for the UK company market that IBM built and has run since 2003.

IBM announced today that this February it signed an agreement with Lloyd's (London) to run the insurance market's new Lloyd's Exchange messaging service. The new service will trial the electronic distribution of data between London Insurance Market insurers and brokers, replacing traditional paper-based operations, according to an IBM source. The parties declined to comment on the value or duration of the contract.

Part of a series of initiatives to encourage participation in the London market, the messaging service will provide a central point of contact for the market by introducing Web-based technology that removes the need for each organization to maintain multiple connections, according to IBM. The service will use ACORD (Pearl River, N.Y.) data standards to ensure a common framework and guidelines for all communication within the London market. This will improve upon existing modes of communication between insurers and give third-party services greater access.

"The Lloyd's Exchange demonstrates not only our commitment to accelerating the pace of reform to improve customer service, cost efficiency and access to the London market, but also our adoption of ACORD standards for effective and efficient information exchange," says Sue Langley, Director, Market Operations and North America, at Lloyd's. "In partnering with IBM, we have selected a company with a proven track record in providing messaging hubs as well as supporting successful change in the way markets and industries operate."

"This is an important first step for the Exchange and IBM is dedicated to developing the service to help make operations more efficient and cost-effective for the London Market", says Graham Wright, UK Insurance Leader, IBM Global Business Services. "Our messaging service caters for all levels of technology sophistication so that the whole market will be able to participate." IBM describes the service as exploiting the vendor's "proven capability in providing standards based electronic messaging exchanges." The service is based on the imarket electronic trading network for the UK company market that IBM built and has run since 2003, the vendor says. Lloyd's notoriously failed in a more ambitious electronic trading platform initiative, embarked upon in 2002 as Project Blue Mountain. The £70 pount venture, eventually known as Kinnect, was abandoned in 2006.

As well as providing its core messaging service, IBM will supplement this with a range of business and technical services that will be used to establish, implement and support the new service, according to the vendor. In addition, IBM will provide a Starter Connection Pack to allow companies with no existing messaging capability to construct, send and receive messages across the Lloyd's Exchange.

The service is operational today and will be available for the initial wave of market participants in the second quarter 2009, with a progressive roll out across the market in the second half of the year and into early 2010, according to the IBM source.

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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