IT solutions provider, Policy Management Systems Corporation (PMSC), has made a major move in the insurance technology market, launching VP/MS – a product definition tool with similar properties to Polaris.

PMSC says the new technology enables business users, actuaries and IT professionals to create and maintain products independently of administration systems. It also allows product integration into existing systems and deployment over the internet.

Polaris is the company which has developed Run Time Environment and ProductWriter, tools which allow insurance companies to develop products and get them to market quickly.

However, Bob Oxtoby, senior business consultant in PMSC's marketing department, denied that it was his company's intention to compete directly with Polaris.

He said: "We are not positioning VP/MS to go head-to-head with Polaris, but VP/MS has the potential to use Polaris routines or be used by Polaris itself, depending on individual situations."

But Oxtoby would not categorically rule out the potential scope for competition in the future between the two systems. "I can't say competition would never happen, but we have positioned the product to be complementary and we can co-exist," he said.

Oxtoby added the internet is expected to be an area where the new product will prove particularly strong. VP/MS enables users to create products and turn them into an HTML or Java (internet programming languages) at the click of a button.

"Obviously there is big scope with the internet. For those insurers that do embrace the internet, this product will help them get their products on-line more quickly," Oxtoby said.

He also claims VP/MS is very easy to use. "It is a business users' tool. Simply, if you can understand Excel Macros, you can use VP/MS – it's that sort of level," he said.

To create a new product, users simply click and drag different elements of policies and risks together.

The package can be used to configure all forms of life and non-life insurance products.

Oxtoby said a number of "significant blue chip insurers" were using VP/MS to create products that are now being used on the market.

The technology is in use in a number of European countries including Germany, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. It was originally developed by German insurance specialist, CAF GmbH.