Allianz Cornhill is to expand its smaller broker network after it revealed record results in its centenary year.

Allianz Cornhill chief executive Andrew Torrance said: "We are looking to roll this out across the country by the middle of the year involving about 2,000 small brokers and looking to add new brokers along the way."

Brokers in the pilot scheme have a dedicated team and marketing support to help them develop an Allianz account.

The announcement comes on the back of a 37% rise in operating profits from £159.1m in 2003 to £218.4m in 2004. Gross premium income rose 1.5% from £1.74bn in 2003 to £1.76bn in 2004.

Commercial gross premium income reached £1bn, personal lines business gross premium income reached £323m and speciality business gross premium income, made up of animal health, schemes business and legal expenses, reached £385m.

Torrance said he anticipated market conditions to be more competitive in 2005. "Rates are under pressure in several segments with continuing claims inflation."