Stock market volatility is renewing pressure on general insurers to embrace technology to reduce operating costs, according to IT company Focus Solutions.

Focus marketing and planning director Claire Forrest said: "Expense ratios mean general insurers are often making a loss on new business, and only profiting from renewals.

"This was not previously a problem because the insurers' investment income covered any losses.

"Volatility in stock markets means they cannot rely on that source of income any longer and need to take a long hard look at their cost base," she said.

The life and pensions sector has long been ahead of the general insurance sector in terms of embracing technology and agreeing universal standards.

Focus said that the general insurance industry could benefit from embracing the the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (Acord) standards and moving to XML messaging standards from EDI.