IIB director general, Andrew Paddick, is to launch a new company early next year, which will distribute insurance products over the internet.

The new company will enable brokers to quote for business and take payments over their own web sites as well as providing additional services to their clients.

“Insurance companies are taking serious steps to sell policies both via the internet and digital TV,” said Paddick. “This is just the tip of the iceberg – a new medium, which is likely to be as important a business tool as the telephone. Brokers may see this new fact of life as a threat, but it is also an opportunity for them – a new way to serve their clients and increase sales.”

Although many brokers have created their own web sites, Paddick believes they have been disillusioned as most just serve as information sheets.

“They need to be able to provide real services and in particular quotations,” he added. “Detailed research conducted, including confidential discussions with a wide range of IT companies about what can be done, has produced some very exciting results.

“This will be a powerful resource for brokers. It will not “go direct” to the public, it will support broker web sites and their business interests.”

The company's primary objective will be to strengthen the broker's local ties as opposed to promoting product provider national brands which Paddick feels compete and seek to exterminate these local services.

Like Broker Direct, the company will be largely broker and management-owned, allowing the broking community to be “master of its destiny, ensuring that its interests are properly and specifically served in this new world of e-commerce”.

With a launch planned early next year, the company is expected to be trading by the summer of 2000.

IT companies are currently being invited to tender to deliver the specifications already drawn up.