John Reeve and former AXA Asia Pacific chief Les Owen to sit on broker’s board.

A soon to be launched online intermediary is aiming to become a significant player in the SME market.

Coverzones will target SME clients directly through an online marketplace. It claims it will transform the commercial lines market.

Simon Ball, chief executive of Coverzones, will head the business alongside chief broking officer Steve Davis, formerly of Aon.

The board of directors includes chairman John Reeve, the former executive chairman of Willis, along with Les Owen, the former chief executive of AXA Asia Pacific. Steve Sherlock, formerly head of UK retail marketing at Hiscox, has been appointed as marketing director.

Ball said the proposition had received a high level of support from insurers. “It is much more economic from their point of view,” he said.

“The reason the majority of SMEs buy through regional brokers is because they have no choice. We are about to confirm that the SME world is prepared to be online in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Ball said he was confident that the commercial lines market could mirror the success of personal lines in trading online.

“If you look at the personal lines space it is light years ahead,” he said. “Compared to what is in the commercial lines space it does not really exist. It is miles behind personal lines.”

Ball admitted that there were similarities between Coverzones and the aggregator and managed general agent (MGA) models. However he said Coverzones would complete the final transaction rather than the insurer.

“The reason we do that is because there are not that many websites out there for insurance companies selling their products and we want to bring insurance companies to the market place that don’t have their own broker presence and ability to sell direct to the consumer,” he said.

The company will initially offer liability and property products before expanding.

Ball would not comment on the company’s financial targets, but said: “We will grow very aggressively and very quickly. Our objective is to be the significant player.”