Axa Insurance is on target to meet its integration schedule following the merger with Guardian Royal Exchange six months ago, said chief executive Andy Homer.

While he admits that there are some hot spots in the country where claims handling has been affected, there is no systemic backlog.

"Overall, the service is no worse than before the merger," he said.

The personal lines product range was integrated in July, and the motor book has lost market share which Homer attributes to a combination of pushing through rate rises and the shedding of two-thirds of its motor manufacturer book, about 150,000 policies.

The household book is more buoyant.

The commercial lines product range was launched in October.

"The biggest difficulty is completing the integration while the market is very competitive," Homer added.

Axa now has ten of its proposed 19 branches up and running, and will have the remaining nine in operation in January.

The integration operation is expected to be completed by next summer.

There will also be a new series of broker roadshows next February to hear feedback on the integration. It follows the success of the roadshows held in September.