Committed to Kinnect

We have been following with interest the debate surrounding Kinnect, and have noted some comments that suggest there may be doubt about Marsh's commitment to the project.

Marsh is working on numerous initiatives, both internally and in conjunction with others.

Such is the volume that it is sometimes difficult for market constituents to have clarity on our position on some projects.

High on our agenda is the need to address contract certainty issues, while at the same time ensuring complete transparency and a clear audit trail. By helping us to achieve these objectives, reducing re-keying and speeding up the placement process, we believe that Kinnect has a fundamental part to play in our strategy.

Kinnect offers two key areas of functionality, as well as occupying a central role in the overall drive for market reform.

First, Kinnect offers a browser based 'transaction' tool. Using this, a broker can create a slip and submission, negotiate this with the market and bind all parties online.

We have worked side by side with Willis on these non-proprietary processes over the last six months, and the feedback we have had from the ever-expanding customer base of Kinnect has been very positive. All parties recognise that one non-proprietary process agreed between Marsh and Willis is a significant step forward.

We are looking forward to going live with this functionality in the second quarter of 2005 across our entire North American book and accelerating into other risk classes throughout the second half of 2005 and into 2006.

Second, Kinnect provides a messaging hub that will allow us to pass and receive data between other customers. Connecting to one party rather than many different parties will streamline processes and create cost efficiencies.

Separately, Marsh is working to create its own internal messaging system that will 'plug into' Kinnect. This system does not compete with Kinnect. Rather, it is vital that Marsh has the ability to send and receive messages across our network to maximise the value we will obtain from Kinnect.

Kinnect exists for the benefit of the market. Many vehicles provide 'exchange' type functionality to facilitate transactions between brokers and underwriters and many IT suppliers offer messaging capability. However, Kinnect, by virtue of its Lloyd's sponsorship and management structure, is fully committed to driving market reform, working as a utility on behalf of the market as a whole.

We believe that the Kinnect package of a browser, messaging hub and commitment to market reform is a compelling proposition.

Working with Kinnect, and in conjunction with other Kinnect customers, Marsh plans a concentrated effort over the first quarter of this year to drive the delivery forward and persuade others to join up.

With the support of its growing customer base, Kinnect offers us a real opportunity to deliver contract certainty, complete transparency and a clear audit trail - all key issues for Marsh and the whole London market.

Steve Matanle
Chairman and chief executive
Marsh Global Markets