01 June 2001
Among those exhibiting at this year's BIBA conference was Acturis, a new commercial lines technology initiative, which some brokers will already have come to know under its previous name of Riskline.
I had my own conducted tour of Acturis during a recent London visit from no less than the joint chief executive officer, Theo Duchen, who gave me some interesting background. He referred to some Acturis market research in commercial insurance which produced some interesting, not to say alarming, results.
For instance: 50% of documents sent to the broker by the insurer are incorrect and need to be re-sent; of those documents re-sent by the insurer, 30% remain incorrect; over 35% of client documents take well over 100 days from the time they are first received by the broker to the time they are issued to the client; and only 8% of business is done electronically, the balance being sent to insurers by post or fax.
The fact that. as you and I know, many insurers still are simply unable to receive e-mail messages will mean that only a few eyebrows will be raised by the last of those statistics. But the others make pretty depressing reading. Theo Duchen says, Acturis aims to provide brokers with the tools to improve efficiency. saving the industry millions of pounds each year.
Acturis provides a web-based technology platform to support administration and to give access to new services which are intended to make broker operations more efficient. Among the components are: the Acturis Broker Trading Platform, a core back office system provided on an ASP basis; a mechanism to create new product and services quickly; an on-line environment for passing structured risk information between broker and insurer; a management information system; and a risk management system.
Mr Duchen acknowledges that, in a marketplace stiff with technology offerings, one way for the potential customers to pick his or her way through the jungle is to look for names that are well known and trusted. Hence, Acturis entering into partnership agreements with Norwich Union, and with brokers such as Bland Bankart, and Smart & Cook.
Acturis believes that now is the time for the commercial insurance business sector to seize the initiative and start to eat into unnecessary duplication and therefore cost. The company maintains that "the possible cost savings are becoming too great for customers and shareholders to ignore". And that's a warning that could have been voiced in the industry for very many years - it cropped up also at the BIBA conference. Perhaps now we might actually start to do something about it.
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