ECF benefits companies, not just the market

The failure of the Lloyd’s market to reach its 60% target for electronic claims file (ECF) usage has disappointed members of the market reform group (MRG), but the real losers will be the companies themselves.

ECF is beneficial to the businesses that use it. The MRG and the electronic reform targets themselves are designed to boost efficiency, which is not just beneficial to the market but to every company that currently wastes time re-keying claims data. As some companies have got their systems up and running and reap the efficiency rewards, others have begun to fall behind.

Secondly, there remains the possibility of sanctions for failing companies at the start of next year. Sue Langley, director of market operations at Lloyd’s and member of the MRG is currently visiting the worst performing managing agents in a bid to boost their performance, but she is adamant that sanctions are still an option come January – with fines one option. Indeed, it will be mandatory for all new managing agents to use ECF from 2008.

Failing companies also impact on the market as a whole. It is not good enough to have a few big players pushing forward change if others do not follow. This is one aspect that worries the MRG: some companies have zoomed ahead to 100% ECF usage while others linger at 0%. It is in the interests of each and every business to pull its own weight, as the need for change will not go away.