London Market slammed as `anachronism' by Xchanging chairman

Ins-sure, the back office operator at Lloyd's, is to face tough new rules in a bid to force up service standards.

The business process outsourcing operation, formed as part of a £100m deal between Lloyd's and Xchanging to commercialise the market's claims office in 2001, has left many managing agencies dissatisfied.

Market insiders privately criticised the Lloyd's hierarchy for failing to insist on rigorous standards when it awarded the contract.

The contract is understood to be up for renewal at the end of 2003, but Xchanging is expected to continue its work.

Among the complaints are allegations about costly delays in sending and receiving data between systems.

But the changes come as Xchanging Ins-sure chairman Sir Laurie Magnus laid the blame at brokers' door.

Speaking at a gathering of IT and insurance executives last week, he said: "At Ins-sure we're processing files in five days, but there is a huge log-jam with the brokers."

He said that 70% of claims came to Ins-sure too late for them to be paid by the due date.

He also slammed the London Market as an "anachronism" that failed to understand information technology.

Magnus said IT specialists faced a "real challenge to change the culture of the London Market, as the will to change does not exist".

He called for online trading, saying: "I blame the chief executives. They don't understand IT because they concentrate on underwriting and broking.

"If they don't adapt, Bermuda will seize the business from the London market and we will be seen for the anachronism we are."

Magnus also said inefficiency in policy wordings was a massive issue.

"When you see clauses with TBA written beside them, it's deeply unprofessional and it upsets customers."