RI3K is already looking to the East for further growth.

This has been a busy year for RI3K, apparently one of the newest kids on the block in the re/insurance e-commerce arena. From its launch of the debt exchange in the spring, through the full risk exchange – complete with payment gateway with Citibank – to its Asia exchange, whatever criticisms can be laid at RI3K, sitting back and waiting is not one of them,

In fact, the RI3K product menu has been in development since May last year. Originally, the plan was to release the main RI3K Exchange, but the timing of the Association of Run-Off Companies' conference earlier in the year brought forward the launch of the debt exchange part of its offering.

Exchange union
Now, the debt exchange and European exchange have been joined by an Asian reinsurance exchange, which RI3K hopes will revolutionise Asia's reinsurance market. Based in Singapore, the exchange has been designed and built by RI3K along the same lines as its European offering. The company claims the new exchange provides a “more secure trading environment than has ever been possible in the bricks and mortar world.” Security is high: user sessions are secured through 128-bit SSL, with transaction authentication by a unique user logon and password, while using public key infrastructure (PKI) enables authentication via digital certificates held by a Certification Authority. All transactions are tracked and audited using PKI certificates and digital signature, explained RI3K.

As with the European exchange, RI3K Asia has a secure settlement gateway into Citibank, giving users access to automated settlement facilities should they want to use it. This, said RI3K, gives “vastly improved cash handling by offering a point-to-point payment solution between buyers and sellers. Debts and credits are automatically fed through to users' own systems removing the need for lengthy data matching and entry. Premiums and claims arrive on time as per the agreed terms of trade.” It is this fulfilment that sets RI3K apart from the rest of the e-commerce pack at the moment.

From its inception, RI3K adopted the WISe interchange agreement, and it is an associate member of ACORD, meaning it has adopted the international standards.

David James, managing director of RI3K Asia, commented, “As a logistics and technology provider to the reinsurance chain, RI3K Asia adds considerable value to brokers who will see it convenient to place its structured risks on-line and leaving the advisory to the experts: the brokers themselves.”

He sees the downturn in global economic conditions as a positive advantage for RI3K Asia. “This challenging economic period is likely to encourage CIOs and CFOs in the region to re-evaluate IT projects and expansion plans,” he said. RI3K Asia operates on the same lines as the European offering, aiming to streamline the business process and achieve significant cost savings through cutting out back office expenses. It does aim at disintermediation as a fait accompli.

Logical choice
Domiciling the exchange in Singapore was a logical choice, according to Alex Letts, founder and Chief Executive of RI3K. As a major reinsurance centre, with an IT- and business-friendly government, it seemed natural to locate the exchange on the island. “We recognised that we required a separate entity in Asia and decided to utilise Singapore for this,” said Mr Letts. “It is, after all, an e-commerce hub, it has 46 active reinsurers and is a technologically sophisticated operating environment.”

Bringing e-commerce providers and industries together is a cause championed by the Singaporean authorities. “Technology providers, regulators and industry players need to work together to enhance productivity and cost efficiencies through the adoption of e-business practices, so as to stay more competitive,” said Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive for Online Development, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. “RI3K Asia's reinsurance exchange is a good example of how e-commerce has been effectively introduced into the insurance value chain to reduce the inherent frictional and administrative costs. In the long term, this initiative will contribute towards encouraging both reinsurance and insurance companies to anchor their bases in Singapore, thereby enhancing our position as a financial hub.”