At last, some good news for brokers - but, as every silver lining has a cloud, some bad too. It's good news Government wants to highlight expensive tie-in insurance deals that some mortgage lenders still use to fleece hundreds of pounds a year from their customers.

What's bad is that it could be well into the end of next year, and possibly 2002, before the law is changed to make these rip-off deals more transparent to consumers.

More positively, most of Britain's largest mortgage lenders are playing fair on the insurance front at last. It's now up to brokers to capitalise on the opportunities in what's potentially a vast market.

As ever, though, Direct Line is making the pace. The direct seller's advertising campaign has persuaded many home buyers it's worth not taking the easy option of a one-stop buy - and has got them phoning for a better deal.

How many brokers can say they've given their local market as much thought and resource as Direct Line has nationally? How many can say they've really attacked the cross-selling potential that the mortgage market generally offers switched-on brokers?

Far too many brokers have been defeatist about the possibilities of breaking into what's been seen as an impossible sector.

These days, that kind of approach is inexcusable. Sure, it's not an easy one to crack. On the face of it, most customers will be reluctant to shop around for what seem small amounts compared to what they're borrowing.

But for the good salesman, customer inertia is not an insuperable barrier - as long as the rewards of success are big enough.

They are here. Perhaps the real question brokers should ask themselves is "Are you incentivising your staff well enough?"