London Insurance Market’s electronic placement platform has been delayed

The next phase of the London Insurance Market’s electronic placement platform NextGen 2.0 has been further delayed, this time to February of next year.

According to a new note, Placing Platform Ltd (PPL) is still finalising the commercial details of plans with Deloitte, and these are expected to be completed satisfactorily in the next fortnight. Detailed plans on migration to NextGen 1.0 in February 2023 will be developed after market consultation during Q4 2022.

The firm also said that in February next year, PPL will also publish detailed technical specifications for the API’s needed to support placement and firm order.

It also said that NextGen 2.0, which will be made available to the market in June/July 2023, will incorporate these API’s together with usability improvements agreed with the PPL Market User & Ops Committee.

In December of last year PPL said that the delivery of the next generation of the platform would be in 2022. But this had slipped, by May 2022, to September.

As we reported in March, PPL usage was robust in 2021 ahead of the expected introduction of Next Gen, with the platform reporting a 17% rise in the number of risks bound when compared with the previous year, with risks bound moving from 160,346 in 2020 to 187,374 in 2021.

Separately in Q3/Q4 2022 work will begin on developing a road map for aligning PPL with FaL and the work of the Data Council.  This alignment work will set out the path to capturing the data fields set out in the recently published Core Data Record. 

This work will be conducted by a team from Deloitte. It is expected that this work will set the agenda for PPL in 2023.

2023 is shaping-up to be the most interesting year for electronic placement in the London Market, when a single central platform was considered the only way to get electronic placement adopted.

That may have been the right approach then, but since the introduction of new vendors the competition is becoming fierce among the market’s multiple providers.

And that’s a good thing. Competition is the breeding ground for innovation, and ultimately better platforms and service levels for our market.

The main job of a placement platform in the global specialty re/insurance market is to reduce the inefficiencies of face-to-face trading paper contracts – but critically, without actually doing away with face-to-face negotiation, which is still a vital component of London’s practice for the more complex risks.

Replacing the slipcase full of paper with digital documents and trading them on an exchange has been achieved with great success over the past six years.

In fact, over 200,000 placements were conducted on PPL in the year to March 2023 which is a very high proportion of London’s placement volume.

Technology is moving fast, though, and it’s now about data. Electronic contract documents in Word and PDF format may be “digital” but they’re certainly not “data” and have now become the new bogeymen – and not without good reason.

Getting the data into them, and then out again, is a waste of time and resource, not to mention the errors and ambiguity it introduces. To be a truly digital market, as envisaged by Future at Lloyd’s and the Data Council, the documents have got to go the same way as paper did, and the data needs to flow straight through. No manual re-entry, no duplicative effort, no errors.

by Yana Keller