Our Network gains first members and claims that 90 inquiries were made after launch.

The fight was on for network members this week, as Our Network signed up its first 13 members and its rivals defended their turf.

Dr Dharam Duggal, managing director and founder of Birmingham-based Crownsway Insurance Brokers, became the inaugural member of Our Network, launched exclusively for IIB members last week.

Duggal said: “The network is a wonderful idea and I’m delighted to be the first to join. You can’t lose by joining, only win. It’s going to give a real voice to the independent broker in the commercial sector.”

A further 12 brokers have signed up to the network, with more expected in the coming weeks. The network claimed to have received 77 enquiries from brokers.

But rival networks warned that established organisations had a better chance of survival in the crowded arena. Mark Radburn, managing director of Willis Commercial Network, said: “Not all the new networks that are being proposed will survive and flourish. Competition is likely to be based around the value the network brings to its members.”

“A lot of networks have come and gone in the five or six years that we have been going.

Steve Burrows

Willis N2 was launched earlier this year, aimed at giving provincial brokers access to enhanced commissions, as well as compliance and training for technical, sales and managerial issues. Willis hopes to take on between 200 and 300 brokers for this programme in the next two to three years.

Steve Burrows, chief executive of Cobra Network, said: “There have been a lot of networks that have come and gone in the five or six years that we have been going.”

The Cobra network currently has about 140 members and is growing on average by two brokers a month with a backlog of 30 potential members at a time.

Cobra’s Capital Release, which allows members to sell up to 19% of their shares to the network, had a preliminary launch in May. Burrows said the product would launch properly next month.