So high street brokers are under the cosh - well maybe some are and maybe all of Hill House Hammond (HHH) branches were.

However, there is a place in the hearts of many shoppers for face-to-face service that gives advice on buying, help on how to claim fairly and that provides a local service - not a UK call centre or one based on (currently) low wages in other countries.

I have visited a large number of brokers recently and the message is clear. If they are inefficient, sloppy, unprofessional and unfriendly, they will fail. However, where brokers operate properly they will attract and retain the still high percentage of insurance buyers who, even if they don't visit the shop, know that it is there when they need it.

There is also some concern that this book of business may not want to trade only with a call centre. When Premium Search policies were transferred to HHH branches a few years ago, the story was that customers were going into the branches saying it was good to buy on the telephone but so much nicer to have a local service.

Norwich Union's decision will be good news for a number of high street brokers.

Those who remain there will gain business. There are good reasons to believe that all distribution channels can exist for a long time to come.

Paul Cosh