The panel discusses the thorny issue of commission

Phil Bayles, director of trading at Norwich Union answers Krishnan Guru Murthy’s question on how Norwich Union is “changing the game” on commissions.

“It is not a blanket machine gun approach to reduce commissions," he said.

Bayles explains that Norwich Union has had to address the aggressive approach taken by consolidators but has no intention to hit its broker heartland – the independent regional broker.

Valerie Hockley, managing director of Blyth Valley explains the need for regional brokers to be able to have an open dialogue with insurers and the chance to negotiate rates and commissions. Grant Ellis, chief executive of Broker Network agrees that commissions are too high but questions the efficiency of how the industry works and the need to stop recycling costs generated by inefficient processes between insurer and broker.

Norwich Union’s corporate sales director, Janice Deakin responds that the insurer’s aim to level paying field is a measured increase against a backdrop of a 4% and Norwich Union does not want to leave a false impressions for smaller brokers. Janice also confirms that in 2009 Norwich Union will crack once and for all the e-trading on-line capability for small business and a new system giving better options and better pricing for the broker in Personal Lines.