Bluefin and JLT square up

Bluefin says its Orbit Benefits Technology platform has still not lost any customers despite the departure of its entire senior management team to JLT Benefit Solutions in the spring of 2008.

Bluefin, the new brand name of the Axa-owned distribution business that has absorbed Thinc, SBJ Benefit Consultants and PIFC Consulting, says it has updated the Orbit system since acquiring it. Bluefin also absorbed EB Consultants in a deal announced in November.

JLT says it is not surprised at Bluefin’s statement and adds it did not expect to poach any business from Bluefin as the former Orbit staff have been under covenants restricting them from contacting clients.

Jonathan Phillips, head of consultancy solutions at Bluefin Corporate Consulting says: “Technology has to develop to remain relevant. Orbit is and always will be a key piece of technology for Bluefin and a differentiator for our business. In 2008 we invested heavily in the modernisation of the system, to put us in a position where we could focus, as we are now doing, on a series of projects to improve what it can offer to employers and employees alike. All the clients we inherited have stayed with us and more have been added in the last six months. We are very excited by the potential for 2009”.

Charlie Carrick, sales director at JLT Online Benefits says: “We are under contractual requirements not to contact clients so I am not surprised they have not lost them – and it is a good system. But there will be an interesting fight in the market place in due course.

“We are developing our own new proposition, called Benpal, which has a lot of the features of the Orbit system, which is not surprising given that it has been developed by the people who created it, but has different features as well. Benpal will be truly international in its reach allowing benefits to be offered through it across several countries, and will interface with various means of communication such as PDAs and iPhones.”