Broker devises commercial system to reduce paperwork

Aon is set to pilot a new web-based system that will provide comparative quotes for large commercial clients.

The broker, which started the project over two years ago, is set to run the system at two locations starting in October.

The Aon Market Exchange is intended to reduce the amount of paperwork filled out by clients, brokers and underwriters in the process of gaining quotes and generating policies.

It is understood that the system will make paperless proposals and online risk profiling easier.

If the pilot is successful, Aon will roll the system out to other branches of its corporate division during 2003.

Aon said: "We recognise the need for a fundamentally different approach to the way we do business and are convinced the project will bring real benefits to our clients, our partners in the market and our employees."

The company added: "Our aim is to remove as many day-to-day frustrations from everyone's working lives through improved working practices, processes and systems.

"The change should radically reduce the amount of paper that is created, handled and exchanged between clients, insurers and ourselves and improve response times."

Aon began testing the technology earlier this year and received participation commitments from most of the market's major risk carriers.

"We are working closely with insurers who have reacted positively to the challenge. They are playing a vital role in helping us achieve our vision," said Aon.

A spokesman said that while the system was intended to provide a faster, more efficient client service, it would also provide a market leading proposition that would "create a working environment in which employees realise their true potential".

Aon has clarified its position regarding the future of Combined Specialty. Chairman and chief executive Pat Ryan said: "Current market conditions are simply not conducive to raising equity capital at this time."

Ryan added that the broker was "investigating options" including a sale or spin-off of "all or part" of the facility.