Biba chief executive Mike Williams has met with senior IBM staff to discuss creating an e-commerce solution for the association's brokers and intermediaries.

Biba is also "desperately trying to rearrange" a meeting with Micro- soft, cancelled by the software company's senior vice president, Kevin Kelly, due to other commitments.

The IBM discussions centred on

e-commerce solutions that would allow the integration of broker systems into the wider insurance market, creating greater efficiency. Williams said he did not want to enter into the specifics of the project and refused to name the IBM team that he met.

The Biba chief executive also said he would not speak to traditional broker software houses about possible e-commerce solutions.

He said: "No single package from the software houses is suitable for everyone's needs. We have always maintained independence from software houses. It is not for us to say this one is better than that one. We need a way of making software packages, and systems able to talk to each other and link to the web."

Williams strongly denied market rumours that Biba has been in talks with Maven Computer Systems, a South African software house that currently services the Irish broker market exclusively.

Williams denied rumours that software houses have been shunned by Biba because it has already decided to use Maven as its supplier.