More than 60% of claims managers in middle-ranking insurers expect service standards to deteriorate if a loss adjuster wins a place on an insurer's panel, according to new research commissioned by loss adjuster PCS.

The findings, the result of a survey of 60 claims managers, follow a series of mega-mergers in the loss adjusting profession.

Cunningham and Ellis & Buckle merged last year to become the largest loss adjuster in the country. It was most recently followed by Miller and Pycraft and Arnold.

The research also found that claims managers valued expertise as the most important criterion for selecting a loss adjuster, ahead of price and service.

"There is obviously demand in the market for middle-sized and small loss adjusters," said PCS's Marc Donfranceso.

He added: "Expertise, rather than price, is by far the most important quality that claims managers seek."

But the research did not include the views of the top five general insurers in the country, RSA, CGU, Axa, Zurich, and Norwich Union.

PCS commissioned Insurance Research & Strategy to carry out the research.