...while customers will have to pay six-figure installation costs

Customers of Project Blue Mountain will pay an average of "five or six figures" to install the information exchange system.

The Lloyd's-funded IT project aims to allow commercial insurers to swap risk data between different computer systems.

It is due to launch for up to six customers, covering commercial property, errors and omissions and directors' and officers' insurance, later this year. Charges for connecting to customers' systems will generate the lion's share of the project's revenues for at least 18 months.

The project's costs are estimated at approximately £5m per quarter, leading to a debt of at least £50m by the time it can build a significant revenue stream based on access fees. This is unlikely to be much before the end of next year, according to Lloyd's.

But chief Ashok Gupta denied the year-old project, which launched a website this week, was running out of money.

He was not looking for new sources of funding, he said. "It's a significant venture. No pain, no gain. If we get a three-year payback on Lloyd's money, that's not a bad result."

It is understood that senior executives may look at the possibility of an MBO after its commercial launch.

"You've got to look at this from the perspective not just of the managing agencies in Lloyd's, but global brokers and global insurers. These companies are investing tens or hundreds of millions of pounds in their systems and processes," added Gupta.

IT partners such as HP, CGI and others will be used to undertake the implementation work. The IT panel is due to be finalised by the summer.

Gupta said that the system could help the Lloyd's Market save up to $40bn (£24.9bn) a year by cutting inefficiencies.

He said: "If anyone thinks you can tackle a $40bn (£24.9bn) problem by spending £5m, they're wrong.

"The important thing is not how little money we've spent, but what we've achieved."