Underwriting agency Fusion this week rebuffed accusations of restrictive practices after it emerged that the insurers sitting on its panel would not compete for the same piece of business with Fusion.

Panel members Norwich Union (NU), AXA, Allianz Cornhill and Royal & SunAlliance, are understood to have signed a non-compete clause, prohibiting them from quoting for business which Fusion has already quoted for. Towergate decided to change the existing panel and terms of business after it acquired the business from SVB at the end of last year.

One broker told Insurance Times: "NU or AXA brokers who do not have a Fusion account will have business taken off them for which they can't pick up the terms. This looks like a distribution conflict to end them all."

Andy Homer, chief executive of Towergate, said: "Brokers need to accept the realities of business. Fusion will be happy to consider applications for agency agreements from brokers who don't already have them. In the soft cycle there are enough alternative insurers out there if brokers can be bothered to contact them."

However, another broker said: "My agency with NU is completely different from the one I may or may not have with Fusion. This is denying customer choice, is not treating customers or brokers fairly and is ultimately a conflict of interest."

NU declined to comment.

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