Unlike most financial institutions, the London insurance market has so far resisted computerised automation. One of the market’s key differentiators is that it still relies heavily on negotiation of contracts face-to-face.
Those face-to-face negotiations nevertheless require large quantities of information to be exchanged. “There are lots of documents, lots of data and lots of text, all of which needs distribution,” says Jeff Ward, business development manager at insurance market technology specialist TriSystems.
Numerous attempts to digitise the exchange of these documents have failed over the past 30 years, Ward says, but that didn’t discourage TriSystems from giving it another go. Last year, the company launched Lime-St.com, named after the address of Lloyd’s of London, which allows brokers to place policies and endorsements on the market.
Given the industry’s prior reluctance to adopt electronic documents, it was difficult for TriSystems to anticipate demand. The company therefore chose to base Lime-St.com on Colt’s cloud hosting platform, which allows customers to scale capacity according to demand.
As it happens, the service has so far proved to be popular. “We thought it was going to be quite a struggle to convince people to use the service, but it was actually relatively easy,” Ward says.
Ensuring the security of the system was a case of designing the application appropriately, adds Ward. “Fundamentally, the cloud is no less secure than a regular hosting environment.”
That claim was put to the test when Lime-St.com was subjected to a security audit. “At first, 165 ‘points of interest’ came up, and half of them were critical,” Ward recalls. “But it turns out that they ran the audit on our test environment, which is about as secure as standing naked on the street handing out customer information. When they ran it again on the actual system, it only returned three points of interest.”