'New imarket' will give brokers access

Regional brokers could gain access to Lloyd’s when the market’s new electronic Exchange project is up and running, according to its developer IBM, writes Lauren MacGillivray.

The Lloyd’s Exchange, which will be trialled in a year-long pilot starting on 1 June, allows brokers, insurers and back-office staff to share information using a single messaging standard.

A similar system, imarket, was created in 2002 and is used by the regional market.

IBM created both systems, but they use different messaging languages – the Exchange uses the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (Acord) standard; imarket is bespoke.

However, IBM says the two may be hooked up at some point. “There is a lot of technology in common so it’s not entirely unfeasible,” a spokesman said. “If any advances are made in imarket and the Lloyd’s Exchange ... we would be very happy to look into what could be done.”

Sue Langley, director, market operations and North America for Lloyd’s, told Insurance Times she wanted to ensure the Exchange was a success before considering any other links.

Roy Laker, vice-president, London market, at Acord, also said there were no plans for a link-up and that any benefits were not clear. “If such a suggestion should come forward in the future, I would expect it to be business-led rather than technology-led.”

But Luke Robertson, London market lead and partner at IBM Global Business Services, said the Exchange system could have global reach. “Because we use US technology standards, anything they do to connect to this internally through their own organisations will be available and useful for any future hubs,” he said.

Alex Letts, chief executive of RI3K – a trading platform that has signed on to the Lloyd’s pilot – said Exchange and imarket could be connected if imarket implemented the Acord standard.

“There is potential for data to drop straight into Lloyd’s eventually,” he said. “First you’ve got to place and trade business [using platforms such as RI3K]. Once you’ve done that, there’s no reason you couldn’t pass some of that data to Lloyd’s, if it’s in the Acord standard.”