'We have been reactive', following approaches from global players, says Cullum

Towergate chairman Peter Cullum has been in talks with companies that want to establish insurance technology specialist PowerPlace in the USA.

Cullum said he had been approached with a proposition by insurers and a large broker with strong US ties.

He said the broker had witnessed PowerPlace's work in the UK and was keen to take the system to the USA.

Cullum added that he would like PowerPlace to expand into Europe and as far afield as China.

He said: “Certainly, I would like to take PowerPlace into the USA because of its unique characteristics. If we don’t do it, somebody else will.”

Admitting that PowerPlace had not planned to move overseas so early, Cullum said: “We have been reactive, because it wasn’t something we were planning at this stage.

“But when you get serious approaches from larger global players, you say: ‘Actually we’d like to talk to you seriously about taking this into other territories’. Clearly it’s a ‘now’ thing.”

Cullum said he expected a big increase in PowerPlace’s £100m premium volume, adding: “By the end of 2012, I expect that to be hundreds of millions.”

He said PowerPlace would improve its insurer service this year by honing its run time engine (RTE), letting insurers make faster product and rate changes. Under the existing system, it can take weeks or months for changes to rates or products to appear at the broker side of PowerPlace.

Cullum said: “RTE is not there for every product and every insurer right now, but I’d expect it to be widely available by the year-end. It would then provide absolute control for insurers in real time.”

He added that PowerPlace would be recruiting internally and externally to find a replacement for Matthew Reed, who stepped down as chief executive in February.

PowerPlace hoped to announce a new chief executive in four to six weeks, said Cullum, adding that there were internal PowerPlace candidates for the role.