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Opening the Doors to Blueprint Two

09 February 2023 

Rob Myers
Operations Director

Everyone loves a Trilogy, right? There’s the George Lucas original Star Wars trilogy and, slightly more niche perhaps, the wonderful Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith albums trilogy delivered by Robert Smith and The Cure in the late 70s and early 80s. Well not quite in that league; here’s my ‘Episode Three’ musing on where we’ve got to and where we are going with London Market Blueprint Two modernisation programme. It follows Episode One: ‘It’s Now or Never’ 2 years ago and Episode Two: ‘Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail’ from just 6 months ago.

May your thoughts be provoked and your comments plentiful.

Ready or Not, Here I Come

Each of the London Market Trade Associations working in partnership with Lloyd's, the London Market 'Joint Venture' (JV) and NTT Data, have provided their members with a ‘Readiness Playbook’ to develop understanding and inform planning and decision making. One for brokers, one for Lloyd’s managing agents and one for re/insurance companies. Do they answer all the questions? No. However, these are a big step in the right direction over the last 6 months; appetites are whetted, and overall understanding and engagement enhanced (I hope). They are all important, but for me getting the broker community informed and engaged is significant. If 40 years working in this London Market has taught me anything, it’s: ‘nothing significant happens on a market-wide scale unless the brokers get behind it’.

And…let’s not forget the pledge made by all London Market technology partners to support Blueprint Two solutions…hard to not agree with it I guess, but, what really counts is the actual development and delivery work with these partners in parallel with the central service developments. Of course, then we need the testing and adoption of what’s been built by the customers who pay to use it. This is going to be the litmus test for the faster, better, cheaper anthem. The grapevine is telling me there are some interesting propositions being worked up by some software partners that have potential to make everyone’s lives a lot easier.

There are some broker and re/insurer organisations out there who are already well advanced with their digitisation efforts and adoption of ACORD standards through their efforts outside the London subscription/’bureau’ market. It’s certainly not a standing start for some; these organisations are poised to be the trailblazers for London Market modernisation.

All this is under-pinned by a well-staffed, well-drilled Blueprint Two Market Engagement team whose brief is to ensure that market participants understand what is being delivered; how the change will impact them; and ultimately what they need to do to get ready for the new digital solutions by 2024...and, as if by magic, we are back to the Playbooks.

Data, Data Everywhere

The London Market Group Data Council, under the skilful chair Sheila Cameron (nod to boss), is producing three landmark outputs early in 2023.

  • First, publication of the updated Market Reform Contract (version 3) which is now designed to make it easier to automatically extract risk data from a document (if that’s your thing).
  • Second, the ACORD aligned version of the Core Data Record (CDR) explaining how to get your CDR into an API form and deliver it to the Digital Gateway that will check it automatically for completeness and content validity, create some new data from what it’s checked and respond to the source.
  • Third, recommendations for which parties are responsible for creating CDR data and reviewing and approving that data and triggering submission to the Digital Gateway are about to be issued to market organisations for review and feedback. (Another Trilogy!)

Fast-forward to June and we can perhaps expect these pieces of the puzzle to be locked down. I’m sure the Data Council will then turn its attention to areas of business it has not yet explored, like Claims, Delegated Authority and Treaty Reinsurance.

'Centralis Deliverus Certainus'

There… I’ve conjured a Harry Potteresque spell which assures delivery of the digital solutions by the key central service providers in this programme, being:

  • the 'Joint Venture' or JV (shareholders being, Lloyd's, the IUA and DXC Technology - the service provider formally known as ‘Xchanging’),
  • Placing Platform Ltd (PPL - other trading platforms are available) and,
  • the all too often understated, LIMOSS whose Single Sign-On, Message Exchange and Structured Data Capture Services (amongst others) have a pivotal role in bringing the solutions together.

I nearly left it at that (another Trilogy); but I must mention Lloyd’s Corporation as well, for whom there is unfinished Blueprint Two business in relation to the Delegated Authority distribution channel responsible for a good chunk of Lloyd's business.

It will be great to see the PPL Next Generation trading platform land in Q1. It has been eagerly awaited and I’m sure PPL customers will want to see how it is going to make their lives easier. The first planned Market Release comes in February and a second planned release a few months later. Bedding this down and gaining confidence that the current PPL platform can be retired will no doubt be the primary focus. PPL customers (hot on the heels of digesting the Data Council work mentioned earlier) will be lining up to ask questions about how and when PPL will come into line with the Data Council CDR adoption plans.

Meanwhile (in the same galaxy, not so far away)… other trading platforms like Whitespace have been getting on with their own data-first developments to make their offering more attractive. My bet is we will see more and more broker-proprietary trading platforms put in front of (London Market) underwriters… and if those re/insurers don’t already have an Underwriter Workbench solution that assembles the submissions from different platforms into one, easy-to-use interface for their underwriters they will soon be looking for one.

CDRs flowing into the JV-built Digital Gateway has to dovetail with the new-breed of Digital Processing Services being designed and also built by the JV – the Digital Bureau, I find myself calling it. First cab off the rank for the JV is the Global Core Services offering to brokers and carriers who are not using the London bureau today but want to operate with ACORD standards and a B2B payments capability. ‘Global’ is the key word here and the expectation is we will see some ‘live’ customers for that in 2023. It’s not London, but we’re told it provides the foundations for London Market Digital Bureau Processing Services to be built on. It’s heads-down on the technical build right now. In parallel, work is underway to develop the more detailed descriptions of what these new Digital Processing Services will actually be capable of doing and business outcomes they will enable for JV customers. This will get under the skin of the headline faster, better, cheaper assertions and helping the JV London Market customers address the question; ‘so what’s going to be different for me and my customers’?

Alongside the build and service definition activities, there are some big, practical questions being addressed, like:

  • how will market organisations and their software partners test and accept this behemoth of a delivery?
  • how will the solutions be put live?
  • when will all this happen?
  • for how long will the market be reliant on the current JV central services solutions?

To wrap up… momentum is undoubtedly building; expectations are rising, engagement is as strong as I’ve experienced, questions will always need answering (and there are some big ones out there at the moment); there is a palpable, collective desire to get something good from this.

The Force is Strong.

All views expressed are personal.