Insurance broker technology leapt forward this week with the launch of Enfield-based Midway Insurance Services' new internet scheme product for its retail brokers.

The system, which sells an internet-designed block of flats product called Elevator, took two years to develop and is believed to have cost nearly £300,000 to create.

Norwich Union has been assisting Midway in the development of the site.

Midway will present Elevator to CSC's Grapevine users on two dates in the middle of November.

Paul Robertson, a commercial director at the company, said: "Under the conventional system, brokers fill out applications, send them to insurers, wait a couple of days and then have to chase up the insurers.

"With Elevator, we have automatic underwriting. The process takes minutes."

The Midway site will be available to any broker, no matter how small.

Robertson added: "I think we are starting to see some restrictive forces in the market: broker clubs, and volumes of business determining where brokers obtain agencies. Our delivery mechanism has no extra cost if someone produces only a small amount of business."

Midway is currently piloting two test sites.

"They (the trialists) ran some real cases through the system and the feedback was phenomenal."

Norwich Union Clubline handles the claims for the site. The insurer is the sole risk carrier for Elevator. Midway offers flexible commissions. All that is required to use the site is internet access, with a recommended 56k modem, ISDN lines are preferred as is a good internet service provider.