Lloyd’s disconnects troubled Kinnect technology

By | February 6, 2006

Ultimately “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” couldn’t put Kinnect together again. The King’s men in this case being the management of Lloyd’s, who have finally thrown in the towel on the London market’s highly touted information technology platform.

Acting Kinnect Chairman Michael Dawson broke the news in a letter to Lloyd’s management. “I am writing to inform you that following the Kinnect Board’s recommendation, the Franchise Board has agreed not to fund the Kinnect platform going forward. They have decided that the platform was not optimal in ensuring more efficient business processes for the Lloyd’s and London market and as a result it will close.”

First announced in 2001, as the “Blue Mountain Project,” Kinnect aimed at nothing less than reforming the way Lloyd’s has done business for 300 years. It was to do away with the bulging slip cases and the approximately four tons of paper Lloyd’s produces every day by converting the brokers and underwriters to an electronic platform, integrating computers and technology.

Always an ambitious–and expensive–project, Kinnect ran into trouble from the very beginning, as the programs its mangers designed ultimately couldn’t perform the tasks they were supposed to in a satisfactory manner. The handwriting appeared on the wall last fall when Toby Davies, Kinnect’s CEO, and Iain Saville, the project’s executive chairman, both stepped down.

A near majority of Lloyd’s brokers and underwriters remained reluctant to adopt the system, despite the fact that many Lloyd’s Syndicates and a number of their financial backers had pledged to do so.

In addition, as Dawson recognized, other initiatives have been gathering force to replace Lloyd’s infrastructure. Increasing standardization in the Lloyd’s market and increasing pressure from the FSA to assure contract certainty require an electronic platform.

Kinnect was perhaps too ambitious to fulfill that need. Smaller and leaner companies may succeed where Kinnect failed. London-based RI3K already provides a platform for technology infrastructure for the reinsurance industry and has been working on adapting it for use in the general Lloyd’s market as well.

Topics Tech Excess Surplus Lloyd's London

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