Broker switches business to Mitsui Sumitomo.

Heath Lambert has pulled out of its relationship with Fusion in favour of placing business with Mitsui Sumitomo, Insurance Times has learned.

Kevin Pallet, Fusion chief executive, confirmed the move: "We will no longer be dealing with Heath Lambert as of 21 October because of different philosophies on business relationship and ongoing transactions."

A spokesman for Heath Lambert said: "Heath Lambert has moved its book of business from Fusion, which has been bought by Towergate and is therefore no longer an independent underwriter.

"This shift of business is not an uncommon move in the broking community. We are fully aware that our clients' interests always come first and are confident they do in this case."

Sources suggested that Heath Lambert's decision was influenced by the offer of an additional 10% commission by Mitsui, but the broker denied this.

"Over 90% of this book of business is on fee, so commission levels did not play any part in our decision," said the spokesman.

Mitsui has been expanding its UK operations in recent months. In April it poached two senior managers from Fusion.

Fusion agencies to go as Pallett pledges greater 'synergy' with its brokers
Fusion is set to slash its broker agency base by as much as half as it moves to improve its working relationship with its partner brokers.

Kevin Pallet, Fusion chief executive said the move was aimed at creating a "greater synergy" between the underwriting agency and its brokers.

"We work in a certain way and not every broker wants to buy into that concept. So this is about making sure we work with brokers where we have a meeting of minds," he said.

He said the underwriting agency will also make stronger use of exclusive quotes, offering quotes to only one broker on a piece of business. "We really want to push the exclusivity concept with a small number of partners, so if the market turns we will move forward with it," he added.

Fusion currently has 250 broker agents, which Pallet said could be more than halved in the next 12 to 18 months as the broker market consolidates.

The company will also roll out an online system targeted at small end commercial businesses with premiums of under £5,000. The system, which was designed in coordination with Open GI, has been piloted in the company's Colchester office.

"The very small end SME is more likely to be a commodity product where low costs and ease of speed are needed," Pallet said. "We can take out costs and offer health and safety training and risk management."