Chief exec plans to launch four new products every two months

PowerPlace, the electronic trading platform, will be thrown open to all brokers by the middle of next year.

Currently, only brokers using the Open GI software system can access PowerPlace. Both businesses are owned by Peter Cullum and are part of the Towergate family.

PowerPlace’s chief executive, Matthew Reed, said the extranet facility for non-Open GI brokers was currently being trialled internally. But Open GI brokers will still have the advantage of not having to rekey information to retrieve quotes.

Reed outlined plans for continued expansion next year. PowerPlace currently has 38 products, and expects to launch four new ones every two months over the course of next year.

Asked about PowerPlace’s relationship with Towergate, Reed said: “We very much stand on our own two feet. We will be looking at the brand going forward quite seriously. Obviously, there are a lot of advantages in being close to Towergate, but going forward we will be very much our own entity, and all our insurer negotiations are very much on our own.”

Towergate chairman and major PowerPlace shareholder Peter Cullum has outlined the importance of the business to the Towergate group in the year ahead.

This week, PowerPlace announced that RSA has joined names such as Zurich, Groupama and Fortis on its panel of insurers.

Reed said: “To get the UK’s largest commercial insurer onto PowerPlace was everything we could hope for.”

Asked if other major insurers would join the panel, Reed said: “We are talking to everyone. As you would expect, while you are building an offering you have got to talk to everyone. I would dearly love to be able to say we have AXA coming on here and Aviva coming on here, but I am not in that position yet. If I was an insurer, I would look at all the options.

“PowerPlace will succeed, I know that. We’ll see how attitudes change throughout the year as our GWP grows.”

When asked if PowerPlace could replace imarket, Reed said: “Our propositions are different. Imarket is an industry standard across all brokers. I don’t think we would replace them. When you look at changing behaviour, it is always better to have two or three people doing the same thing.”