AXA's gain is Wellington's loss as Towergate moves its property binding authorities

AXA has picked up £70m worth of commercial insurance schemes run by Towergate after the schemes were not renewed with insurer Wellington.

The binding authorities are believed to be property-related, primarily in the SME, retail and trade areas of business. A large caravan account is also thought to be included.

Market sources suggested that the schemes were not renewed with Wellington because of the "dreadful loss ratios" of a number of binders - which Towergate denies.

The source said: "It has to be pretty disastrous for Wellington to pull the plug at this stage. Normally you find (when a scheme is not successful) that an insurer will say, 'let's start afresh, rewrite the scheme and impose restrictions as an interim measure'."

He added: "Towergate has got a reputation for making insurers money and Wellington is very keen to foster that. But over a period of time it obviously hasn't done that and it has ended up costing Wellington a lot of money."

Towergate chief executive Andy Homer said Towergate had simply placed its business elsewhere.

"It happens all the time. On any given day of the week we are moving business from one company to the next."

AXA declined to comment.