Zurich IT director David Roper believes that the internet could soon leapfrog traditional EDI as a means of providing quotes on household insurance.

Roper was speaking as Zurich Personal Insurances and Zurich Commercial announced a major ecommerce push with the creation of web sites for brokers and customers.

Roper said: "I think the internet may leapfrog EDI on household. We hope to announce something soon on internet household."

Roper said Zurich was working with an unnamed software supplier which supports IFAs to develop internet solutions on household.

The personal lines site, www.zurichpersonal.co.uk, has a public area that enables the public to find a broker.

The broker-dedicated section of the site allows Select and Exclusive brokers to access a password-protected extranet site where they can print proposal forms, order Zurich stationary and product literature.

IT and ecommerce manager David Wallace said: "This is a site primarily for intermediaries and represents the first step in an internet strategy which will, through incremental developments, move into business development and service over the coming months."

At www.zurichcommercial.co.uk, the Zurich Commercial site follows the same approach and is being targeted at brokers and business. It consists of both a public area for all users and a private area for brokers.

Like the personal lines website, the commercial service offers access to information on Zurich products and services together with quotations and policies.

There is also a knowledge store that holds information on legislation and topical issues such as employment law and health and safety.

Zurich Commercial ecommerce manager Andy Stephens said: "We believe the combined broker/ customer functionality of the complete Phase 1 site will demonstrate Zurich's commitment to providing market-leading customer solutions."