The London insurance market is poised for a massive overhaul of its systems, with the removal of the 'Victorian pipework' that it uses to administer insurance.

The move follows a joint report this week by Lloyd's, the International Underwriting Association (IUA) which represents the companies' market and the Lloyd's Insurance Brokers' Committee (LIBC).

The London market is the world's biggest insurance market, but the report's authors warned it could lose business to other markets unless it improves service to clients and updates its working practices.

"We believe it is imperative that the London market dismantles the 'Victorian pipework' it uses for the processing of premiums and moves rapidly forward to the latest generation of business-to-business trading systems," it says.

The changes will be supported by new web-based ecommerce developments to enable key processes such as slip completion and claims assessment to be completed electronically, reducing operating costs.

Lloyd's chairman Max Taylor said: "The consensus we have achieved is unprecedented. We have reached unanimous and enthusiastic agreement about where we need to be."

Nigel Burton, Chairman of the Standards and Protocols Working Group, said the initiative was aimed at improving quality, transparency and cost-effectiveness.

The report's proposals will now be sent out to the wider market for consultation, but it is intended that implementation will begin by September.

There will now be a series of meetings with senior executives and underwriters to discuss them in detail.

- A single lead underwriter for each risk to clarify administrative responsibility and speed policy administration
- A redesigned London market slip to clarify responsibilities and timescales
- Mandatory use of de-linking to enable rapid issuance of policies and immediate premium collection
- Moves towards the convergence of Lloyd's Policy Signing Office and the London Processing Centre
- The creation of a quality standards body to monitor and measure performance against criteria such as the speed to quote for policies and pay premiums and claims