Schemes platform Nexus allows brokers to sell schemes via the web

Insurance technology specialist Sirius has launched an e-commerce product for brokers to establish an online B2C trading platform for schemes business.

The system, dubbed Nexus, will be a bolt-on product to the Sirius 21 system, allowing its existing users to automatically produce client, policy and accounting databases to create a retail website.

Sirius said Nexus would benefit insurers by bringing products to market quickly and efficiently while also reducing back-office costs and eliminating errors and delays.

Allianz Cornhill, Primary Broker Services and Premium Credit have endorsed the product.

It is understood AXA and Norwich Union have discussed the product.

Sirius chief executive Steve Verrall said the decision to develop Nexus was to help brokers tackle the competitive distribution environment fueled by the direct market.

Verrall cited Norwich Union chief executive Patrick Snowball's comment that 50% of NU's motor direct business was now sold on the internet, as a clear example.

"The cost to brokers of setting up a fully functioning e-commerce site is prohibitive. At an average start-up cost of £530,000, it is clear this is why brokers are not rushing in. Nexus will allow brokers the chance to deliver e-commerce at a low and predictable cost," he said.

The pricing structure for Nexus will be based on the commercial and personal lines schemes built onto the site.

Sirius Financial Systems chief executive Mike Dodd said: "We will ask for around £5k to £15k investment advance payment for start-up costs but then the cost will be 3% of the GWP generated by the scheme.

"Of course, each scheme will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will have to show a strong business potential but this will be the most flexible and affordable pricing structure for brokers," Dodd added.

Non-Sirius 21 brokers who purchase Nexus will not be able to trade insurance on the internet. Sirius 21 costs around £150,000 to implement but Verrall said that "without the

Sirius 21 technology we cannot give the end-to-end service brokers would expect".