No commitments, but broker studies could see them follow Marsh and Willis

Brokers Heath Lambert and Thompson Heath Bond (THB) are undergoing feasibility studies with Lloyd's interconnectivity platform Kinnect.

Kinnect chief executive Toby Davies said: "Both brokers are looking at us with the possibility of involvement within the next few months."

He said Kinnect was also in discussions with Jardine Lloyd Thompson. But though the broker was "enthusiastic to technological advancements", it has yet to commit to the system, he added.

THB technical director Jonathan Eames said: "We are in a feasibility study with Kinnect to discuss using the system for North American property business. But it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage."

In May, Kinnect's present broker partners Willis and Marsh began transferring data across the system. All Marsh's North American property business was going via Kinnect, Davies said.

"At the moment it's about 20 transactions a week for both Willis and Marsh. Transactions may not be the right word, it is more dataflow between broker and various underwriters.

"In the past four to five months, Kinnect has been offering a deeper and faster dataflow, which allows contract certainty," Davies said. The next step was to persuade other major brokers, in particular Aon, to come on board, he said.

At present, Kinnect is overseen by an advisory board,but its management team plans to convert it to an executive board similar to any blue-chip company.

"We want to have a regular board that our key partners can sit on with myself and Iain Saville. Marsh and Willis are already equity partners, but as more new clients or investors join they will also be offered an equity stake," said Davies.

In conjunction with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, Kinnect also offered a simplified version of the platform for long-term brokers and clients, Davies added.

He also said that Lloyd's franchise board was "very supportive" of the system but there were no plans for a flotation. "We are hitting our milestones and I hope next year to ask for more money."