A Biba survey of 1,000 brokers backs up claims that major insurers are letting them down badly.

The research, published after extensive coverage in Insurance Times on the issue, finds that claims handling, resolving queries and keeping brokers up to date are the main areas of concern.

Brokers were asked to rate 13 named insurers on a scale of one to seven in terms of overall satisfaction for commercial lines. The result makes for grim reading with nine insurers scoring four or less.

Ratings for personal lines were better with only three insurers receiving a rating of four or less.

Turning to the actual insurers whom brokers dealt with for commercial lines, only 17% said they were extremely satisfied with the service. Thirty two per cent were quite satisfied while 35% were very satisfied.

The survey also showed that commercial lines brokers rate relationship issues as highly as products and pricing. Direct access to senior underwriters was an essential consideration.

Insurers' performance on personal lines was, however, significantly better. Twenty three per cent said they were extremely satisfied with insurers' performance, 30% were quite satisfied and 33% very satisfied.

The survey found personal lines brokers increasingly judged insurers on the competitiveness of their premiums and their claims service – often considered the acid test of an insurer's capabilities.

Mike Williams, Biba chief executive, said: "The mergers issue is interesting and shows the increased number of mergers in the industry has meant that many brokers are feeling a reduction in competitiveness."

The survey was conducted before some of the larger UK insurers embarked on a concerted campaign to raise their performance following broker complaints published in Insurance Times.

As highlighted in Insurance Times last week, CGU has deployed staff to clear its backlog of claims before Christmas, and Norwich Union said it may review the workings of its agency policy with regard to smaller intermediaries.