Broker trade body the IIB is helping to create the 'paperless' office by introducing new software that lets brokers make instant policy comparisons using a PC.

The IIB has joined forces with financial company the Research Department to launch an IT-driven 'policy finder system'.

Brokers can make comparisons of thousands of different products on factors other than just price.

It will replace the paper-based review of thousands of general insurance policies that the IIB has produced for the past seven years.

IIB director general Andrew Paddick said: "I believe this software will become the most important source of policy information in every broker's office. It will enable them to discharge their duties to clients, confident that they have conducted proper research before recommending the most appropriate policy available."

He added: "Consumers are becoming better informed and more litigation conscious – the Internet already provides a wealth of information, enabling consumers to compare the quality and price of products themselves."

Analysing the IIB's seven years of data is beginning to cause problems for the 300 brokers who subscribe to the service.

They have been keeping weighty binders that need updating when new reports are issued, making comparisons increasingly difficult.

The new 'Aequos' software, which runs on PCs, will enable brokers to find the most suitable policy within a few mouse-clicks.

The system will be provided to all existing non-insurer/underwriter IIB Policy Wording Analysis Service subscribers during April, without any increase in their subscription charges for a year.

All brokers will receive information about the new system.

Paddick said he expects a significant increase in the number of subscribers over the coming months.

The Research Department's managing director David Lee said the move would give brokers the best of both worlds: "IIB's detailed analysis and our easy-to-use technology."