Four heavyweights at CGU's general insurance arm have failed to take up equivalent posts in the merger with Norwich Union.

They are Andy Welling, who was director of international broking business, and ex-claims director Arthur Singleton. Welling was key to sealing a series of large affinity deals with a variety of partners including, Abbey National, Skipton Building Society and Age Concern.

Neil McKenzie, former CGU director of broker marketing, is also gone, having declined a new Norwich-based position for family reasons. His future plans remain unclear. And ex-operations director Trevor Smith decided against taking part in the selection process for NUI appointments because of the firm's location.

London-based CGU managers are understood to be reluctant to move to Norwich, the base of CGNU's general insurance operations, now known as Norwich Union Insurance. Two of the former CGU highflyers were said by the insurer to have taken early retirement despite being aged under 60.

A CGU spokesman dismissed fears that the insurer might suffer a loss of senior general insurance talent.

He said: “Clearly there are some talented people who have opted not to apply for certain Norwich Union Insurance jobs, but there are plenty of able people remaining.”

The spokesman added: “Location is a factor as all the jobs in general insurance are in Norwich and for family reasons people are reluctant to move.”

It is believed that 50 of the senior appointments so far made to CGNU have gone to Norwich Union managers and only 25 to CGU staff.

A source close to CGU said Norwich Union has dominated the board of CGNU and is achieving the same with subordinate managerial posts.

An independent recruitment agency is handling the application and interview process for senior Norwich Union Insurance posts to ensure fair play.