The IT Direct 2000 event last Friday (May 19) saw the launch of new technology that lets underwriters create complex insurance products inside one day.

Underwriters and brokers with delegated authority can have a trial of the new product 'Expert Studio' from software company RPT Consulting, free of charge.

The company has also just announced its first client, FirstCity Insurance Brokers.

Director of RPT, John Lawton said: "Expert Studio will lower the cost of entry to trading over the internet and reduce the development time needed."

RPT has created Expert Studio to run on the web, but it also works on Local Area Networks and standalone PCs.

The system is broken down into two parts: Studio Server with a Graphical User Interface, and Interview Server.

The Studio Server technology is a rules-based system letting the user create the core product. The product then sits behind the interview server where customers fill online forms to buy insurance.

Underwriters and brokers who wish to try out the technology are given access to the product creation tool, Studio Server, and a single version of Interview Server.

The technology took 18 months to create. FirstCity will use Expert Studio to manage its professional indemnity products.

RPT managing director Richard Thomas said the technology addressed a dearth of scripting programmers in the insurance marketplace.

Meanwhile, IT solutions company Mynd has become the latest firm to form an alliance with IT Direct, Lloyd's procurement arm.

The move will improve Mynd's (formerly PMSC) access to the Lloyd's market.

The event also saw Net-Tel Computer Systems release a new version of its email security software MailGuard SMTP.

The firm's director of product marketing, Keith Vallence, said the system will beat the latest computer glitches such as the recent ILOVEYOU virus.

The package features a visual policy editor that helps users to create and enforce email policy.

Meanwhile, Michael Heinz head of Lotus' Banking & Insurance practice told delegates that insurers need to look towards the internet for a competitive edge in a global market.

He said productivity will be boosted by increased use of web technologies through online application handling and claims acceptance, and that for future success, insurers should focus on ways to act locally within global markets, and cross sell.