As a not-for-profit entity, LIMOSS aims to operate as cost-effectively as possible. To keep its organization lean, the company works with partners to help it deliver and enhance its services.
LIMOSS has worked with IBM® Services® to co-create a powerful new set of common services that run on Microsoft Azure. IBM also manages the company’s Message Exchange service, hosted in the IBM Cloud®.
Reducescosts for the London insurance market by consolidating services
Increasesstandardization, making it easier for market participants to work together
Improvestransparency, helping participants understand the value that LIMOSS provides
Business challenge story
Since its origins in the 17th century, the London insurance market has been known as a global center for commercial and specialty insurance. In recent years, London has faced increasing competition from other markets. To maintain its leadership, the market has embarked on a wide-ranging set of modernization initiatives, which aim to streamline its operational model and empower market participants to adopt new technologies.
As part of these modernization initiatives, the market decided to set up a new organization that would be responsible for delivering, managing and enhancing common digital services for the benefit of all market participants: London Insurance Market Operations & Strategic Sourcing, or LIMOSS.
In particular, LIMOSS was founded to enable the market to consolidate the management of several existing services, as well as to provide a home for a new set of common services for authentication, API integration and secure document exchange between market participants.
James Bobbitt, Chief Operating Officer at LIMOSS, explains: “The services we provide are critical because they enable the market to operate efficiently. For example, our messaging services provide a standardized way to integrate systems and exchange data via a central hub, rather than having to build and maintain hundreds of point-to-point interfaces between individual participants.”
Set up as a not-for-profit entity, LIMOSS aims to provide these services to the market as cost-effectively as possible. To keep its internal organization lean and efficient, the company works with partners to develop and manage the technical aspects of its services. This enables the in-house team to focus on change management, training and support to encourage the adoption of LIMOSS services throughout the market.
James Bobbitt comments: “We exist to serve the market and deliver the best possible value to our members. We’re constantly looking for ways to make our services easier to adopt and more transparent, while reducing costs. To help us find smarter ways to operate, we need technology partners both we and our members can trust.”
Trust and flexibility
The leadership team at LIMOSS comprises insurance and technology professionals who have many years of experience in the sector and have overseen many previous technology projects in the London insurance market. Based on this experience, the team selected IBM Services as the provider for several key LIMOSS services.
“When LIMOSS took over responsibility for delivery in 2018, the Message Exchange service had been running successfully in the IBM Cloud for several years, and IBM had also helped to design and develop several new common services running on Microsoft Azure,” says James Bobbitt. “Based on those existing relationships, we were very confident that IBM would be the right choice, not only for reliable business-as-usual management of these services, but also to help us enhance and evolve them in the future.”
In day-to-day terms, the LIMOSS team provides first-line support for the digital services, handling business-focused requests such as adding users to the single sign-on (SSO) service. Meanwhile, an IBM team located at the IBM Client Innovation Center in Lithuania provides higher-tier support for technical issues, and handles all maintenance, security, patching and upgrades to the cloud-based services.
“We’ve always had a good, open and trusted relationship with the IBM team,” says James Bobbitt. There’s no politics or quibbling over contracts, and the reliability and performance of the services is always excellent. They don’t just keep the systems running—they’re always coming to us with ideas for how to improve. IBM’s proactive attitude is really important, because it helps us continuously enhance service quality and reduce costs for the market.”
In LIMOSS’s first year of operation, one of its key objectives was to launch several new common services and encourage market participants to adopt them. Developed using the IBM Garage™ Method for Cloud and a microservices architecture, these services include SSO capabilities that provide easy authentication for central market services; an API gateway that simplifies integration with third-party data and application providers; and a secure data exchange that enables users to share confidential information with named parties without worrying about GDPR or other information security concerns.
“The new services run in the cloud on Microsoft Azure, which was a new platform for all of us,” says James Bobbitt. “We had a lot of learning to do at the beginning, but together with IBM we’ve built a really open culture where everyone focuses on finding solutions. That openness and trust enables flexibility: we act as one team with the same goals, so we’re able to do what’s right for the market instead of being confined to the terms and conditions of a typical vendor-customer relationship.”
Seamless market services
With the new services in place, LIMOSS can offer market participants significant savings by eliminating the need for them to develop their own platforms for authentication, integration and data exchange. By providing these and other services from a central hub, each company within the market only needs to maintain a single interface with LIMOSS, instead of over 200 separate interfaces with each potential counterparty.
The consolidation and standardization of services also serves to simplify onboarding for new members of the market and reduce barriers to entry—potentially making the London market more attractive to new players. At the same time, it supports the market’s broader modernization initiatives, providing foundational services such as SSO that will be used in longer-term market transformation projects, such as the introduction of a new delegated authority system.
From the perspective of today’s users, LIMOSS is making it easier to access new technologies via its API gateway, simplifying integration with a host of new third-party apps and data services that market participants can use to streamline their own business processes and make better-informed decisions. At the same time, services such as SSO make market systems both more secure and easier to use—each user only needs one set of credentials to access their accounts in any of the central market systems.
LIMOSS is also making market services more transparent: instead of a single opaque “modernization levy” on each member, the organization provides a detailed breakdown of costs for each of the services it provides, making it easier for users to understand the value that LIMOSS is providing.
“Transparency is vital, because we’re here to support the market, not dictate to it,” says James Bobbitt. “If we want members to adopt our services and help the market modernize, we have to listen to their needs and show that we’re working toward the same goals. We’re trying to drive down the cost of the service year-on-year, and it’s important that our members can see that.”
LIMOSS is already gaining traction in the market as the value of digital services becomes increasingly apparent. While the London market has historically relied heavily on face-to-face meetings, the impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to rethink their operational models and re-evaluate the importance of digital services.
James Bobbitt concludes: “Digital services will be central to the continued modernization of the London insurance market, and LIMOSS is here to help all our members transform their digital capabilities. Together with IBM, we will continue to develop and deliver innovative services and help London maintain its position as the world’s leading insurance market.”
London Insurance Market Operations & Strategic Sourcing (LIMOSS) is a not-for-profit company owned by the Lloyds Market Association (LMA), the International Underwriting Association of London (IUA), and Lloyd’s of London. Its mission is to source and operate common market services for the London insurance market, providing a fair, transparent and cost-effective service for all members.