Real-time electronic platform aims to give insurers a view of placements worldwide

Willis is planning to unveil a powerful global placement system in 2012 that will rival Aon’s Global Risk Insight Platform (GRIP), Insurance Times understands.

WillPLACE is a real-time electronic platform, due for launch in the first quarter of next year, tracking all the broker’s placements worldwide.

Although Willis has yet to reveal full details, it’s likely WillPLACE will allow brokers to see globally what coverages and limits carriers are quoting and the business they are binding or failing to bind.

Clients will be able to see purchase limits, insurer risk appetite in classes and comparisons between different local and wholesale markets.

Owning a database system has become a trend for London market brokers in recent years.

Brokers believe it helps clients and insurers assess their risk more accurately. But some underwriters feel that paying for databases is an unnecessary extra cost in tough trading conditions.

Aon was the first to launch a database system with GRIP in May 2009, winning over Zurich, QBE and Chubb as clients.

Marsh followed by launching MarshConnect, while Cooper Gay is working on its own system.

But last year German banking giant Deutsche Bank asked for its risks to be taken off the GRIP database, on the grounds that the information should be confidential.

We Say

The development of databases should provide brokers, who currently charge for access, a valuable income stream in soft market conditions.

If all brokers start charging for their databases, it puts the insurers in a tricky position. Do they pay membership for each database developed by the their brokers, sign up to one or ignore them all?