Lloyds has denied newspaper reports that it is seeking as much as £60m in funding for its new web system.

Project Blue Mountain (PBM) is an electronic hub which is the proposed next step in its e-commerce strategy.

This allows brokers and underwriters to match risks online.

But Lloyd's has confirmed it is pursuing investment for PBM, to drive its development this year and into 2003.

Lloyds.com chief executive Ashok Gupta said: "We are looking for investment at the moment... the figure of £60m is inaccurate. The amount we're looking to raise is substantially less than that."

Gupta said commercial factors did not permit him to reveal exactly how much funding was required but he added that lloyds.com was exploring a variety of different funding methods.

PBM is designed to improve the flow of information between brokers and insurers.

This would enable them to place business and manage claims more efficiently, and allow them to gain better control over the underwriting process.

Lloyd's has stressed that it is not an electronic exchange.

Gupta said PBM had reached a stage where the designs had been completed and validated by "over 30 significant organisations".

"The next two stages are to actually build the application and to gain customer support.

"The vast bulk of the [funding] activity is on building the applications," he said.