Range of single-key products aimed at SME market

Norwich Union (NU) is set to pilot a suite of web-enabled commercial lines products early this summer.

The commercial lines products will be available through NU's e-broking portal and will include commercial combined policies for simple risks.

Intermediary business director Ken Wallace said NU could "push the button" for semi-commoditised commercial lines products such as hotels now, but is waiting for work on some of the more complex products to be finished before piloting the whole suite of products.

Wallace said that the policies would be single-key products. That means that the numbers and words keyed in by brokers at their machines will not be rekeyed into the NU back office system to generate policies and quotes.

Instead, the information will flow straight into the back-office system and, according to Wallace, would even provide real time rates for the more commoditised products.

Experts say that the development of single-key commercial lines products is essential in the SME market. AXA is understood to be the first company to launch single-key commercial lines products with businessrisk.com - the system it picked up from the ashes of Independent Insurance.

While businessrisk.com is currently available to AXA's larger Premier brokers, it is understood that the products and the system will be made available to AXA's smaller Prime brokers this year.