Cox Insurance was forced into an embarrassing climb-down this week after issuing what could have been viewed as a libelous press release concerning software house CSC.

To explain its new internet system for brokers,, Cox is hosting a series of workshops. Following the first of these events, Cox distributed a press release that said: “Those attending [the workshops] represented a cross section of all major system users, including brokers who face withdrawal of support for their Sprintgrace, Quotel and Penta systems later this year.”

Penta owners Misys have already said they will stop supporting the system later this year. Sprintgrace has developed a new high-tech Windows-based system called Broker Soft for its user base.

But the release infuriated software house CSC, whose retail marketing director Tony Barker denied that his company would cease support for Quotel, one of its most popular systems.

He said: “I can say 100% categorically that we have no plans to stop supporting Quotel. We have a very significant Quotel user base and there would be no logic in us ceasing support for the system.”

Rumours about the Quotel system have been building in the market for the past few months. Barker said: “Our sales staff have been coming back from brokers with this rumour and it really annoys me because it is absolutely untrue.”

Barker refused to specify what action his company had taken as a result of the erroneous press release. But he did say that, after consultation with its legal advisers, CSC had written to the insurer.

When Insurance Times checked the story, Cox immediately admitted the claim was ungrounded and issued a new press release.

The retraction read: “Cox Insurance would like to retract the specific comment made in the press release ‘Brokers – sure of system development', which incorrectly identified three software houses… Cox would like to apologise for any misunderstanding caused by this error.”