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Ward reaffirms commitment to electronic claims

Fittingly, on the day Guy Carpenter and Amlin announced the completion of the London market’s first paperless claim (see story 18), Lloyd’s CEO Richard Ward reaffirmed his commitment to seeing all claims transacted electronically by the end of 2007.

Ward, who was speaking at the Xchanging Conference in Brighton on 16 November said: “With regards to ensuring that the market operates more efficiently, an Electronic Claims Repository has been established which means that brokers can send claims files to a number of underwriters simultaneously without having to carry paper files around the underwriting room. This project, which has been led by the Lloyd’s Market Association, enables claims to be handled faster and more efficiently.

“This is a revolutionary, new way of working for the market. It is something that market firms want and five brokers and 18 Managing Agents are already committed to processing all new claims electronically by the end of the year.

“This is a major step forward in our drive for a paperless market. Our goal is for all claims going through the market to be processed electronically by the end of 2007. As it is increasingly adopted next year, we will start to see the amount of paper carried around the underwriting room drop.”

Ward re-iterated his willingness to mandate action in order to ensure all parties adopt electronic claims and said that he wanted to see accounts and settlement transacted in the same way using the same technology.

He added: “Although currently optional, increasing commercial pressure from trading partners will make it less so as time goes on. In an increasingly competitive, increasingly electronic world, it is important that this is taken up. Lloyd’s will not hesitate to mandate an electronic claims process if necessary.”

Ward continued: “The same ‘electronic filing cabinet’ used for claims is being used for accounting and settlement, enabling documents relating to premium transactions to be transferred between market participants faster and with greater control than the current paper based processes. Some 400 transactions a day are already going through the electronic system.”

Although Ward wants to see a paperless market and talked through the reasons he shut the open outcry trading floor when he was head of the International Petroleum Exchange he said there would be no repeat at Lloyd’s.

“An efficient trading floor is also central to my vision. I can see that Lloyd’s will have a trading floor for the foreseeable future, but it has to be supported by efficient business processes. As I said earlier, we have made some good progress recently but there is still some way to go,” said Ward.

The Lloyd’s CEO said that technology had the potential to “revolutionise the way we work” and advocated bite-sized solutions addressing specific problems, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach which failed with Kinnect.

“We must develop new ways to bring business to the market - you can be sure that our competitors will - and so peer-to-peer systems and electronic placement is to be welcomed. We need to support initiatives like the G6 and RI3K. Anything that makes it easier to do business at Lloyd’s, and is likely to keep the customers coming here, is obviously a good thing,” he said.

Throughout his speech Ward highlighted the need to improve technology in order to improve customer service, which he said had been a failing of the London market.

“For too long as an industry, we have ignored the needs of our customers and relied on the specialist nature of our business to win and retain customers. Those days are now gone.Increased competition, and the changing perceptions of our customers mean that the follow up to the sale is just as important as clinching the deal,” concluded Ward.

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