The working group that has been formed to speed up business in the London Market has been set a deadline of March 31 to publish its proposals.

Areas of review include the payment of premiums and claims and the issuing of policies. But, the working party, set up by the International Underwriting Association and Lloyd's, must also establish the steps needed to achieve a common process.

IUA chief executive Marie-Louise Rossi said: "We need changes because some of the fundamental architecture of the market goes back 20 years and IT is changing at an accelerating rate."

She added that the IUA/Lloyd's forum wanted a "leapfrog step" rather than gradual changes.

Tim Carroll, chairman of IUA, and Max Taylor, chairman of Lloyd's, said in a joint statement: "The objectives and aggressive deadlines we have set demonstrate clearly the radical nature of our thinking.

"The reform of London practices will be designed to strengthen the market's position at the leading edge for expertise and skills, making the market easier to access and more user-friendly.

"Our customers demand and deserve nothing less."

The chairmen added that the next few months would prove critical in taking the process forward and would pave the way for wider consultation in the market.

Lloyd's Insurance Brokers Committee chairman Simon Harrap said: "One of the key elements to a successful London Market is streamlined, efficient and cost effective methods of placing and processing business."

He added: "We must provide our clients with a first class service, stripping out all unnecessary costs and delays from the transaction process. Insurers and brokers share a common interest in achieving these goals."