Insurers typically spend 30% too much money in settling building repair claims, InFront Solutions managing director David Moore has warned.

Moore said insurers were often the victims of “cowboy contractors”, who inflate their quote when they learn an insurer is footing the bill.

“Insurers choose the cheapest quote, but they have no way of knowing whether it's reasonable,” he said.

“There's no real competitive tendering.”

InFront, which has a network of almost 250 contractors across the UK, has developed a web-based solution that will allow claims handlers to determine the accuracy of a quote.

The Repair-IT system is being piloted by AXA and Direct Line on subsidence claims and will be rolled out in the next few months, becoming widely available in early 2002.

Claims handlers will be able to enter details on the nature of the repair and Repair-IT will tell them what materials are needed for the repair and will provide a breakdown of the costs.