Independent Insurance is considering scrapping individual risk surveys ahead of offering cover.

The shock volte face by Independent was revealed by marketing and ecommerce supremo Andy Hawkes. He said companies would have to be prepared to sacrifice sacred cows to pursue successful ecommerce strategies and he said that for Independent, that could mean dropping surveys.

“For a company that preaches risk management and surveys, this is blasphemy,” he said. But he made clear Independent would be sourcing the information from new systems that include satellite pictures and mines of geographical and statistical data.

Hawkes also insisted Independent would rely on the information provided by the broker. Hawkes would not commit Independent to such a change but confirmed the company was looking at the software and system available to scrap risk surveys.

Hawkes said ecommerce would change Independent within years. “By the end of 2002 we will not write any small business unless it is by ecommerce,” Hawkes said.

He insisted Independent would help its brokers prepare for the ecommerce changes and that Independent would always rely on the human interface provided by its brokers.