Munich Re and Swiss Re, the world's two biggest reinsurers, have joined forces to create an independent online reinsurance market. The marketplace is aimed at cutting costs in an industry hit by excess capacity and depressed premium rates.

The London-based venture, the first online marketplace for reinsurance to have the “built-in support” of two large companies, will provide a platform for buying and selling standardised forms of reinsurance cover.

Launched Monday, the exchange, called Inreon – an acronym formed from the phrase “insurance meets reinsurance online” – will be open to insurance companies, insurance brokers and other reinsurance groups.