Brokers fear not. There will always be a place in the insurance world for you, despite the onslaught of direct insurers .

Mark Whitehead, Ace European Group's

e-commerce manager, gave a reassuring rallying cry at the Insurance Times' SME conference last week, pointing to some interesting examples of how traditional routes have survived in the face of competition.

He said those organisations that prosper will be those with strong brands and clear, simple strategies, which are executed well.

He said: "Gambling, music and pornography are three of the biggest online sectors, but the world still has betting shops, record stores and red-light districts."

Fair point. If knocking shops can prosper, why not brokers?