Brokers will be forced to ditch their traditional role as intermediary between the corporate customer and a wide range of insurers and transform themselves into advisors, the report finds.

Many of the 210 senior executives believe the future role of the broker will be limited by 2005.

Only 42% say brokers will have a significant role in the medium-size corporate market by 2005, and 49% believe they will continue to act as intermediaries for the large corporate market. This is partly due to the corporates continuing to buy insurance directly and partly due to the narrowing insurance field from consolidation.

The report states: "Those who do not expect brokers to retain a role in the market believe they must continue to broaden their offerings (especially in the large corporate market), looking more like consultants than traditional brokers.

"These services will include value-added independent advice, coverage design/ retention advice, providing customer access for insurers, access to information and industry research."

While 46% of North Amercian respondents expect brokers to retain a role in large corporate markets, the figure is 52% for Europe and 65% for Asia.

Role of brokers in the medium-size and large corporate market of 2005
% responding agree or strongly agree
Medium Corp Large Corp
Will have significant role in market 42.4 49
Will perform risk pricing 27.6 36.7
Will provide value-added independent advice 48.6 50
Will provide risk management advice 47.1 55.2
Will provide coverage design/retention advice 43.3 50.5
Will provide customer access for insurer 35.7 39
Will provide access for information 33.8 42.4
Will provide industry research 23.3 31.4
Source: EIU/PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.