Dundee-based internet company Net Trading Platform (NTP) is seeking a new financial backer for its internet/CD-Rom package after a split with French venture capitalist company, Challenge International.

Originally, Challenge had pledged to support development of the NTP to the tune of £1.4 million. Roderick Lawrie, the man behind NTP's creation, would not discuss why the two parties had separated, but he did say the decision had come from his own company, not Challenge.

Berkshire-based Challenge also refused to comment on reasons behind the split. It was in January that Lawrie first launched his Net Trading Platform. At that time, it was claimed the service could save brokers as much as £25,000 in administration costs.

Brokers who connect to NTP are issued with a trading code which allows direct access to the system. When the system becomes operational, brokers will be able to use a CD-ROM to access a web site. Contained in this web site will be information on insurer products, allowing quotes to be transacted.

However, following the split with Challenge, Lawrie is looking for a new partner to support the Net Trading Platform. He says he “already has two players at the table” and believes an agreement with one of them could be imminent.

The internet company also commissioned a research project looking at the technology being used by brokers.

The company's research found:
- 17% of brokers still used paper-based systems to provide quotes for their clients
- 67% of brokers spend between £5 and £10,000 per year on software
- 75% of brokers receive updated information from their software houses once a month – eight per cent receive updates twice monthly
- 58% of brokers have less than ten employees
- 92% of brokers have internet access
- 67% do not use a computerised system for commercial lines business.
Researchers spoke to 30 Scottish brokers and 20 insurance companies.