Brokers need to play to their strengths of knowledge and expert advice if they are to continue to play a major role in the insurance chain, warned Amanda Blanc from Groupama.

The distribution and customers service director at Groupama, said: "In insurance, people need advice and brokers are still the best option. Customers like local solutions and professional advice and guidance. But brokers need to play where they can win."

She highlighted how 20 years ago brokers controlled the motor market, but only 25% of business is now done through brokers with 60% buying motor direct.

One of the ways brokers can move forward is by embracing the internet. "The internet revolution is here and customer behaviour is changing, brokers need to get online," said Blanc.

She cited that 5.2 million quotes are now given online. "But the key to success is converting quotation interest into actual business online."

Although Blanc warned that this trend may mean an erosion in loyalty as two-thirds of customers have been with their provider for less that two years.

Blanc highlighted that almost 90% of SMEs are satisfied with their broker and 72% could not think of anything that could be improved.

"If over two-thirds of SMEs say they will stick with brokers, so why not personal customers too."

She noted that brokers should choose their partners carefully as 70% of all cover sold is through the top five insurers. "Broker-only insurers only support you the broker," she said.