General insurers again bucked the trends in a new economy survey by the Confederation of British Industry and Pricewaterhousecoopers – but only because they are playing catch-up.

While 27% of total respondents reported that the total value of their internet business had increased over the last quarter, insurers said that business had increased by 79%.

The survey concluded that insurers appeared to be getting to grips with their internet offerings and the vast majority of large organisations had established their own sites.

But said insurers still need to simplify the buying process, pointing out that in the US leading players had made it easier for consumers by reducing the number of questions asked.

John Hitchins of Pricewaterhousecoopers said there was a strong element of catch-up in the insurance industry, as it had not gone online as quickly as other sectors.

Hitchins also warned that the eworld was still in the minority and that “practicalities and realism have hit ebusiness”.

The most common strategies adopted by respondents to developing ebusiness offerings were web-enabling and extension of current business operations rather than launching stand-alone web operations.