Lloyd's wholesale broker Itex has made a series of commercial products fully interactive on the internet. Proposal forms can be submitted and quotes made on-line while the customer waits.
Itex chairman Nigel Norman claims fully interactive quotes for public houses, hotels and guest houses, office renters, political and social clubs, and restaurants will be available to retail brokers within 10 – 30 seconds.
Since Itex's first internet product, household insurance, went fully interactive back in January, Norman has generated 997 quotes, of which 70% had been converted into business.
However, Norman has warned that he does not want to grow his retail broker base too quickly. At the moment, Itex is using around 30 brokers, Norman said that he would be satisfied if that number grew by around two to four per month.
That is because Itex believes that brokers are not as internet-literate as some research suggests. Norman said: "It's not true that 90% of brokers can access web sites. A certain amount of time is required to iron out problems brokers have and configure their systems properly. That is one of the reasons we are not looking to grow too quickly. But brokers have got to be doing more than just sending e-mails."
The first phase of development for the site, namely making household insurance fully interactive, cost around £60,000 and represents the bulk of the costs involved so far.
Norman added: "The internet is the way all future business will be done. It cuts down on the need for staff and time. If you photocopy something, you don't write it down twice."