London – January 2007

The Market Reform Group representing senior market figures underpins a vision to make London, which has been criticised as costly and behind the times in the way it trades, the ‘market of choice’.

Analysts said the statement signalled a breakthrough because it showed an unprecedented degree of unity. ‘It is important that the brokers, who are such a force in the market, have put their shoulders behind the wheel,’ said one source.

By 2009 the group, chaired by Brit chief executive Dane Douetil, wants to see:

– All risk submissions sent electronically.

– Wholly electronic trading for some simple risks.

– All claims processed and agreed electronically.

– All accounting and settlement of risks performed electronically.

It accepted that face-to-face negotiation can still be required for large and complex risks and complex claims.

The claims process in the London market is paper intensive, with documents shipped from regional offices to brokers’ London offices and taken by hand for review and agreement by underwriters.

The market rallied behind what it called the London Market Principles in 2000 but moves towards a claims repository and other enhancements have been painfully slow, the reform group has admitted.

Mr Douetil said: ‘The market made excellent progress in 2006 and change became a reality, but there is still much to do to ensure that the industry provides the very best service to customers.

‘Our road map to reform sets out how we intend to build on the success so far and win more business for London by continuing to make the market more efficient, cost-effective and competitive.’

James Brewer, January 2007 Informa Martime Trade and Transport