Kinnect’s Leaders Resign; Lloyd’s IT Platform to Undergo “Recoding”

Lloyd’s spokesperson Louise Shield confirmed that Toby Davies, the CEO of its Kinnect IT platform, and Iain Saville, the project’s Executive Chairman, have both stepped down, effective Sept. 14.

Shield noted the achievements made under Saville’s leadership, indicating that he “has played a significant role in driving forward the business process reform agenda [most importantly the adoption of standardized LMP* slips] and in developing the Kinnect platform.” She said that Saville, 57, had decided, after a distinguished career in high profile full-time roles and having delivered considerable progress at Lloyd’s, “to scale down his commitments.”

Davies had played a “key role” in developing Kinnect, Shield said, but had decided that it was time to “move on,” as the project enters a new phase. His main priority now is to assure a “smooth management transition.”

Not everyone in London’s insurance community, however, is as sanguine as Lloyd’s about the two men’s departure. Many see it as yet another setback for Lloyd’s troubled initiative to bring on-line processing to its brokers and underwriters in order to eventually replace the ubiquitous slipcases through which Lloyd’s business has been transacted since the 18th century.

Kinnect has had design problems since its inception, when it was known as the “Blue Mountain Project.” Lloyds now indicates that it will need extensive “recoding,” i.e. portions of the present system need to be re-engineered. “Recoding the platform is a step towards making it easier to amend and upgrade,” Shield said. She pointed out that a number of managing agents and brokers, including Willis, Marsh and JLT, use the system, which, she said, “now handles around 60 percent of Lloyd’s capacity.”

While Lloyd’s has put the resignations in an upbeat light, no change in senior management is ever easy. Daily Telegraph business correspondent Yvette Essen, called the departure of Davies and Saville a “Double Blow,” on top of the 1.4 billion pound ($2.54 billion) loss estimate from Hurricane Katrina (See related article). Lloyd’s has already spent around 70 million pounds ($127 million) on Kinnect. The changes and the recoding indicate it will need to make a further investment.

Shield said Michael Dawson, currently underwriter at Chaucer’s nuclear syndicate 1176, has been named interim chairman of Kinnect, replacing Saville. He is already a member of its Board. Lloyd’s CEO Nick Prettejohn will also join the Board as a non-executive director. She also indicated that Steven Haasz, currently head of change management [essentially human resources] at Lloyd’s will be giving additional support to the Kinnect team.

* London Market Principles