New company takes over marketing of software packages for small firms

Computer Systems Corporation (CSC) has sold its broker systems business to Software Solutions Partners (SSP), a new company formed by four former CSC managers.

CSC completed the sale, which could be valued at over £25m, to SSP on

29 March. The business provides software packages , including the Quotel, Electra, Ultra and Grapevine packages, for the small and medium-sized broker market,

CSC director of general insurance Steven Bow said: "CSC took the decision that the package software business was not really part of its core activities. CSC concentrates on large-scale systems integration and outsourcing."

Halifax-based SSP is headed by a former managing director of the CSC business, David Rache. Its chairman is Gren Folwell, the previous deputy chief executive of Halifax Bank.

SSP marketing director Nick Southan said the company's chief financial backer was a major UK bank. He added that CSC had reinvested in SSP to retain a minority stake. SSP will continue to supply CSC with quotation engines and EDI services.

Southan said SSP had acquired a business with over 170 staff and 2,500 customers, which gave it a turnover that was second only to Misys in the broker system market.

"We intend to grow the business ... and invest specifically in giving better service to customers," he said.

He added that SSP would release detailed plans for the business before the end of April and SSP and CSC would be working together until May to ensure a smooth transfer of operations.

Gray-Temperley Insurance Brokers (GTI) managing director John Gray, a CSC system user, said he welcomed the move because it could provide the impetus to improve the CSC system.

He said the system was 15 years old and "sadly in need of modernisation".

"It's slow, out of date, the help-desk is pathetically unresponsive and [until now] there was no sign of anything happening," said Gray.

"It can't be worse that what I've been getting previously. It can only be better."