CGNU is under increasing pressure to review its blanket ban on selling mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) to 5,500 car workers at MG Rover.

MG Rover chairman John Towers has requested an urgent meeting with the UK's largest insurer after it was revealed this week that the ban had been in force for two years.

It is believed that MG Rover is concerned the decision may be interpreted unfavourably by its investors.

But a spokeswoman for MG Rover rejected this suggestion. She said: “CGNU has written to us saying that its decision in no way implies any lack of confidence in MG Rover.”

The only UK volume car manufacturer has recently seen its sales revive after teetering on the brink of collapse following its sale by BMW last year.

A spokeswoman for CGNU said: “We took the decision not to sell MPPI cover to MG Rover workers back in 1998 during a period of change and uncertainty at the firm. Our policy is to exclude from cover workers whose companies are facing an uncertain future. This is because insurance cover is intended for unforeseen events only.” However, the insurer indicated that it might review its decision when it meets John Towers in the near future.

The news broke this week as Norwich Union posted record life and pension sales, both in the UK and worldwide in the first quarter since it merged with CGU.

Total UK new business sales were up by 24% to £13.5bn in the three months to December 31. Full year worldwide new business sales were up by 24% to £13.5bn.

CGNU group chief executive Bob Scott said: “Our UK business delivered outstanding figures, up 21% to £7.5bn against the background of an anticipated flat market. Record sales in the fourth quarter follow the launch of the new Norwich Union brand in October and demonstrate the strength of the business, its people and product range.”

Sales in major continental European markets was particularly impressive. The French business has risen 33% to £1.9bn, Spanish sales soared 600%, boosted by the new bancassurance partnership with Bancaja, and sales in the Netherlands hit £1bn for the first time.