Information technology and e-business specialist ICL is in discussions with the industry to launch an alternative to the recently collapsed i2i-link.

ICL, a subsidiary of Fujitsu, already has experience of building similar e-market solutions in other markets, including Assurelink in Ireland.

The solution is likely to give insurers the same type of service as promised by i2i-link, but would be open to all insurers, broker software houses and service providers. It would sit between insurers' in-house systems and brokers' systems, allowing rates on broker systems to be changed as they change on insurers' systems.

I2i-link was backed by six big insurers, prompting industry fears that small insurers would get left behind. ICL's strategy is to make it easy for all insurers to participate. Insurers are not being asked to fund the development, but rather pay depending on usage.

ICL's head of insurance e-business, Manjit Rana, said the project was in the earliest stages of development and that ICL was looking for more interest before proceeding.

He said ICL had been looking at a proposition that could be seen as an "A-road alternative to i2i-link's motorway". But now i2i-link had collapsed, there was potential to broaden the scope of the project.

"There was little confidence [in i2i-link] on the part of a number of the insurers outside this initiative that they could trust a distribution channel that was owned by a number of their competitors. As a result, no other insurer, as far as I am aware, committed to joining the initial six."

He said this dilemma was being faced by a number of "e-markets" in other industries.

Rana wants to involve as many insurers, brokers and software providers in the ICL development as possible.

  • For analysis of the i2i-link collapse, see page 16.

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