In the past few years, analysts have been obsessed with the impact of ecommerce on general insurance sales.

But while internet sales will doubtless take a good chunk of the market, they are more likely to eat into the direct insurers' business than that of traditional brokers. The entry of Bradford & Bingley into general insurance poses a much more serious threat to small brokers (see page 8). Brokers should play to their unique selling point – the personal touch – rather than develop so-called ecommerce strategies if they want to survive.