The article "Brokers Cast a Wide Net With Electronic Exchange" in the March 2007 issue of Insurance Networking News brought a smile to my face. It confirmed the adage about nothing being new under the sun.During the 1970-1973 time frame, a group of brilliant, creative insurance and IT people in the Boston area formed a company called Transystems International. Their mission was to develop a system to facilitate placement of commercial lines risks over a proprietary network with a combination of hard copy and voice communications. More than $4 million (big bucks then) was spent in R&D during the analysis and design phase by about 40 people. Numerous discussions were held with Lloyds about the feasibility, data requirements, etc. Much of the systems design, data analysis and protocols had been worked out.

This, of course, was long before the availability of the appropriate technology. The challenges were significant and we started looking for a vendor to build terminals to our specifications. The primary central processor/switch selected was a pair of Univac 1108s.

Besides the technical challenge, there was the problem of getting producers and carriers to buy in. Agents could see the merits of the concept, but companies had their usual reluctance to try anything new. After a year or so, we finally, with great support from the New Hampshire PIA, persuaded a few companies and numerous agents to sign up.

Unfortunately, 1973 was a recessionary year, and the parent funding company went under. It would have been interesting to see if we could have made it that far ahead of the current technology.

Andy Diamond

Consultant, Maple Technologies LLC

Manalapan, N.J.

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