Prior to Imarket, ITT Quotel in the mid 1990s set up Giltedge, the very first comparative commercial quote system. This system still runs today, being supported by Software Solution Partners (SSP). Its system is now named KC-Connect.
When Giltedge was live all the listings were either ABI or CLMI (commercial lines market initiative) approved where appropriate.
Today it is still as slick and offers comparative quotations now as a web-based tool, also giving immediate cover. However it is purely a quote engine.
We agree there is a potential to revolutionise SME business through this channel.
However, despite Imarket being operational for a few years now it is disappointing to see that it still persists in using the CLMI 'X-forms', in obtaining quotations.
Most panel insurers using Imarket - Allianz, AXA, Norwich Union, Royal & SunAlliance and Zurich - have their own extranet sites offering their products to brokers using a more simplistic question set, also in most cases affording immediate cover.
I refer to Groupama's Amanda Blanc - "it is vital that brokers embrace the new trading portal" (C-Zone, 28 April).
How is it then that when I attempted a property quote recently with Groupama, having answered all of the various questions
I obtained a declinature as the client had two small claims in the past five years.
I called the Groupama service centre venting my anger at spending 20 minutes completing a form which, by the way, asks for in excess of five claims to be completed when there were only two.
The chap I spoke to advised me that Groupama may be producing its own extranet, set aside from Imarket.
One must question how much business is generated through insurers' extranet sites as opposed to the Imarket portal?
market has so much more to offer, but I believe it is let down in its most exposed area, the quotation stage.
I am sure it will continue to grow, and look forward to working with it.