Insurer to focus on large brokers

ACE is set to ask up to 150 small brokers to stop sending it new business inquiries for property and casualty (P&C) cover.

The insurer wants to concentrate on its bigger brokers as it grows its commercial book.

The move to restrict access comes after record numbers of inquiries.

Business development manager Steve Burridge said many smaller brokers failed to provide the information ACE needed to process the requests.

Coupled with the volume of requests, this caused an "unprecedented workload," he said.

"We get a number of inquiries for small packages and we have to decide which of those are worth spending time on," he said.

ACE will write to between 15% and 20% of its brokers this week telling them of the change.

Burridge said the total number of brokers affected would be "120 or 130" but it "could go up to 150".

Decisions will be taken at branch level on which brokers will receive the letters.

Burridge said: "Our branches know the level of support they get from the brokers and the quality of the presentations they receive."

The decision applies to all new business inquiries for primary P&C risks. Inquiries for excess cover will need to be submitted by email.

Burridge said the aim was to free resources to improve service for more supportive brokers.

He denied it would save money. He added: "It's not a question of cutting them adrift.

"If these guys can meet our threshold for doing business we're very happy to do business with them."

Some of the smaller brokers would have to increase the amount of business they send to ACE from about £10,000 to as much as £75,000 as well as improving the quality of their presentations.

Larger brokers sending more business to ACE would see an improvement in service, he said.

ACE plans to expand its commercial book by writing more P&C, excess casualty, directors' and officers' and accident and health cover.