Sirius 21 customers will have online servicing within eight weeks, the software house said this week.

The facility will give brokers' SME clients online access to their policy documentation, personal details, renewals and transaction information.

Steve Verrall, chairman and chief executive of Sirius, said: "If brokers are to keep up with direct providers, they need to improve the service they offer to their customers.

"Online data provision allows a broker's customers to look at their details 24 hours a day, as well as freeing up the broker's time."

Verrall said 23 customers have signed up to the Sirius 21 platform since January.

The company this week declared year-end pre-tax profits of £390,000, compared to a loss of £580,000 in 2003.

Verrall said: "We had a very good year in 2004 and take-up of Sirius 21 in the first quarter has been excellent.

He added: "We have made a fundamental change in our business model from large up-front licences to annual subscriptions.

"This will give us a more steady revenue flow and allow us to better plan for the future."

Verrall also pledged to spend £4m on research and development over the next 12 months.