Insurecom's launch of new imarket products could be the impetus needed to build popularity

For the last four years brokers have expressed complaints that commercial online trading platform imarket isn’t at the stage they wanted it to be.

With a market penetration of about 100 to 150 brokers using the portal for integrated trading, it isn’t exactly where insurers wanted imarket to be either.

But 2008 may be the silver lining the industry has been waiting for in terms of launching the commercial market into the modern world.

Insurecom recently announced it will become the leading software house for imarket products, boldly stating its plans to surpass software house Acturis within the next six months.

A dose of healthy competition is exactly what imarket needs to expand and grow into the major trading platform large insurers had expected while investing up to £15m over the last four years.

Previously brokers had complained that there were simply not enough products being offered through imarket and due, in some cases, to the software systems of insurers themselves, brokers were also receiving referrals and declines for the products that were available.

One of the main challenges has been getting software houses to come on board in order to link insurers to the portal. Acturis became the first fully integrated company to do so, followed, to a lesser extent by Sirius, which offered a limited number of products.

Other software houses piloted imarket but hadn’t become fully integrated.

Insurecom’s decision to play a more dominant rule with imarket could up the ante and be exactly what is needed to get other software houses to move from pilot programs to full integration.

The more software houses involved, the more brokers will be connected to the portal to access quotes by insurers.

Martin McLachlan, managing director for Polaris, which runs imarket, has admitted they may have been too ambitious initially when they laid out their goals for imarket four years ago. Getting the system up and running has been a time-consuming task, he said.

The good news is, supporters of imarket are quick to point out, the technology works. It’s just a matter of getting all the proper players onboard.

If Insurecom is any indication, the wait might finally be over for brokers in 2008.