Software house Misys has announced plans to stop supporting the Penta system, only weeks after denying that it was about to do so.

Two weeks ago, Insurance Times was told by an external source that a meeting had taken place within Misys to inform staff of the decision to stop supporting the Penta system.

At the time, Misys Financial Systems managing director Phillip Bell denied the reports. He said: "It would be a major decision if we were to stop supporting Penta and we would definitely have announced it if we were. But we have no intention of stopping support for the Penta system."

However, in a press statement put out by Misys on December 10, the software house said: "In line with its technology migration plan, Misys has advised Penta users that it will cease supporting the Penta system at the end of December 2000."

Misys said it expected the majority of Penta users to move to its new Windows NT package, System 42.

In early November, Misys sent out roadshow invitations to Penta users which read: "We are making massive investments in our software for intermediaries to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This investment encompasses the continued evolution of the product set as well as introducing exciting new developments."

Two of the shows were subsequently cancelled by Misys.

Penta broker Richard Hartley from Norfolk-based Insurance Solutions said: "I am not entirely surprised. The main fear for brokers is that it will be impossible to get anything put right. A number of issues have been outstanding for two or three years. There was no chance of them being done with the millennium coming up and now these things may never be fixed."

Misys said no support staff would be lost as a result of the decision.

Penta broker Ian Strong of Essex-based LC Strong said he was "not amused". He has just spent £1,500 making his system Y2K-compliant only to be told that support is to be withdrawn.

He doubted whether the system would still be usable by December 2000. There was evidence that some insurers were no longer guaranteeing rates.

Another Penta broker, who wished to remain anonymous, urged his peers to check their contracts as he believes Misys may be in breach of contract.

Misys is also facing a renewed struggle to make Penta Y2K-compliant. The software house distributed a Y2K fix, but a bug was later found.