Willis Commercial Network claims brokers will be renewing contracts

Brokers have signed one-year extensions to their contracts with Willis Comm-ercial Network (WCN) pending the implementation of a new IT system.

WCN managing director Mark Radburn said that several of the ten brokers whose five-year agreements with the network end this year have signed new deals, but he would not disclose how many.

He said the remaining brokers had extended their current deals until late next year in order to see how a new IT system, which WCN is planning to implement, works for their businesses.

Earlier this month, WCN announced that it would move to the Insight IT system provided by Software Solutions Partners in 2004. The WCN network consists of 57 brokers.

"The first ten, all of whom roughly fall due at the end of this year, have either renewed or extended," he said.

Radburn denied that WCN has had its commission rates cut by insurers. Market sources said that WCN's average gross commission had fallen from 25% to 20%.

Radburn said that annual commission negotiations had recently been finalised with insurers and the terms for 2004 were, in most cases, the same as those for 2003.

"At the very least they match the premier terms for our five major insurer partners," he said. "They are either equal to or better than those rates."