Revolutionary technology company The Net Trading Platform (NTP) has been brought back to life after being part-acquired by Royal Bank of Scotland-backed IT firm TrustMarque.
NTP is a new piece of insurer/broker software that its creator, ex-broker Roderick Laurie, claims can do everything a broker needs, from comparative quotations to back-office administration, free of charge.
TrustMarque, which is 25% owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, has purchased the pending patent. However, under the deal Laurie will still keep a sizeable chunk of the commission on transaction fees.
NTP was originally launched in January this year. At that time it was touted as the most serious threat to software house dominance for years.
However, problems arose almost immediately as NTP's relationship with its venture capitalist backer, Challenge International, deteriorated.
But since the system received backing from TrustMarque, Laurie claimed, 11 insurers and 33 brokers have signed up for the technology, with many more showing interest.
He added that among the supporting intermediaries are "three that represent ten per cent of the UK personal lines market".
Following the acquisition, the system is likely to be made available to brokers by May next year.
By using NTP, Laurie said that insurers would be able to put their rating structures on to the internet, carrying out product updates instantaneously.
The technology will be free to brokers, with TrustMarque charging a commission fee of roughly four per cent to insurers.
"From a brokers' point of view, you can either download the system direct from the internet or you can get a CD-Rom that creates all the internet links for you," said Laurie.
He added: "A lot of brokers are not au fait with downloading from the internet, so this will make it easier for them. From an insurers' point of view, they get instant access to their data and the opportunity to change it immediately."
Laurie maintained that Net Trading Platform also possesses a complete back-office accounting system to enable renewals and MTAs.
He also dismissed rumours that there could be problems with the patent. He said: "TrustMarque's legal advisers are Eversheds, a massive, well-established law firm. I hardly think they would have paid £5 million for something when they might not acquire the patent."
TrustMarque chief executive John Williams said: "NTP sits very nicely with our own suite of products."