There is overwhelming concern over customer retention in the industry, a new survey by Insurance Times and the WDA revealed.

The survey showed 94% of brokers and insurance companies considered customer retention to be "very or critically" important to future growth.

There was little concern about foreign competition according to the survey, but among key home competition, the main entrant was internet-only practices, with 69% of those surveyed saying this would grow rather than reduce.

On regulation in the industry, the FSA was seen as costly, with 60% saying it had a negative-against-positive impact on profitability. But 32% saw it as quite good for the industry's reputation.

But EU Directives evoked entirely negative responses: 32% saying they had a negative impact on customer service and 52% a negative impact on profitability.

The results were revealed by Professor Patrick Minford of the Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University.