Software giant Microsoft is widening its scope and plugging into the general insurance market.

Industry manager for financial services at Microsoft UK David Slight said, technologically, general insurance needed to accelerate and Microsoft had a clear vision to make this possible.

"There hasn't been a compelling reason for brokers to pay for more technology," he said.

"It is a fragmented industry and the benefit needs to be reciprocal."

Insurers have recently expressed concern about this fragmentation. In Insurance Times only three weeks ago, GAB Robin's Philippe Bès said claims management skills needed to be improved, or they would be subcontracted.

Major consultants such as IBM and Accenture have already started to manage claims for insurers and insureds.

And IBM is one of the frontrunners to buy Independent Insurance's run-off company Aurora.

Slight said that Microsoft could help streamline the process by using technology to "empower the value chain".

He said the general market needed to communicate and collaborate better. And the value chain philosophy could help this process. "It is a key agent to make the infrastructure more capable," he said.

"With regards to general insurance, we have a couple of projects on the go," he said.

"We need to accelerate the adoption of the infrastructure.

"We're pushing technology and it's about marketing the industry better. We need to make the business case for the change."

Slight said much of the change hinged on the idea of web services, which was part of the company's business vision.

"Connectivity is fundamental," he said.

He cited an example of restructuring the technology of US Healthcare, where Microsoft put XML and other architecture together which "rapidly increased communication," he said.