Our Network denies claims as row breaks out.

The battle for network members descended into a public row this week as Broker Network chief executive Grant Ellis launched a scathing attack on its rivals, accusing Our Netwrok of copying its marketing material and threatening legal action.

OurNetwork denied the claims, saying Ellis’ comments were a “cheap pop” at a competitor.

The row centres on correspondence sent to brokers by Our Network which allegedly contain phraseology and terms lifted from Broker Network marketing material.

Ellis claimed the similarity resulted from employees of rival networks attending recent launches of Broker Network’s new proposition, Broker Network Associate.

Ellis said: “We have concerns that these networks are simply poor copies. We credit UK insurance brokers with the intelligence to realise that if you pay for a fake Rolex, you will only get a fake Rolex.”

He added: “It’s not acceptable to suggest that OurNetwork or Purple Partnership can be compared to Broker Network. Clearly the two propositions are entirely different in terms of their strength and depth.”

“We have concerns that these networks are simply poor copies.

Grant Ellis

Ellis also criticised the quality of the Purple Partnership's testimonials. The Purple Partnership, which was launched in November 2007, refused to comment.

Paul Brierley, managing director of OurNetwork, said the new network, launched at the beginning of the month, already had 30 members and was dealing with membership inquiries from more than 100 others.

He said: “Grant [Ellis}sounds like a very worried man indeed – and I would too if I was in his shoes. His comments are without foundation and amount to little more than a cheap pop at a new rival that shows every sign of having a major impact on his market share.

“This is a network with real substance and a commitment to help independent brokers stay independent. We’ve built a state-of-the-art IT system, acquired a compliance business, acquired an HR business – and that’s just the beginning.

“With regard to allegations about the content of our marketing material, these are total nonsense, without foundation and we are taking the appropriate advice about them.”

Brierley added: “OurNetwork is here to stay.”