New challenge to Kinnect as second big broker plans electronic connection platform

Marsh is racing to follow Aon in developing a London market connectivity platform.

Marsh managing director Jonathan Prinn said: "We are working on a messaging hub based on Acord standards that could connect to anything."

Sources said that the move was in response to Aon's new broking connections platform. Aon's system enables placement messages, contract confirmation and accounting and settlement to be sent electronically to insurers.

"Marsh will want to keep up with Aon so as not to be left behind," said the source.

Aon's launch has fuelled speculation that the broker is competing with Kinnect, Lloyd's own connectivity platform.

A technology expert said: "Aon now has systems that can produce a contract, send it to underwriters and record their responses.

"That is exactly what Kinnect is trying to do at the moment, but Aon's is up and running."

Aon director of strategic change Ian Summers denied that company was in competition with Kinnect, but he said: "We don't want to be tied to something [Kinnect] that will slow us down. If any carriers at Lloyd's want to connect to us they can."

And Aon chairman and chief executive Dennis Mahoney has criticised Kinnect saying that it is "not capable of closing risks". Aon's new platform is able to do that.

Marsh also denied that its platform would reduce its commitment to Kinnect.

Prinn said: "To connect individually to insurers would be too costly. The hub will integrate with Kinnect."

A Lloyd's spokesman said: "The Aon approach and Kinnect complement one another rather than compete.

"We expect that Aon will use Kinnect to transfer data to the increasing number of underwriters on the platform. There is absolutely no competition between the two."