Motor insurer Highway, part of Ockham, is pulling the plug on new motor business from its 30 largest supporting brokers, it emerged this week.

Highway is one of the UK's largest broker-supporting motor insurers, with a net underwriting capacity of £265m for motor.

Highway boss Quin Lovis said a “variety of reasons including capacity issues” had prompted the insurer to take action until the end of the year. But he refused to be drawn on the precise reasons.

Lovis said: “This has been a lovely problem to have. Sometimes you have horrible problems, sometimes you get good problems. This is a good problem.”

“It means we are trading profitably because of the level that rates are bubbling along at.”

But the news infuriated some brokers. One said: “The bottom line is that a lot of brokers are in a situation where they have given a huge percentage of their business to Highway.

“We all expected there would be capacity problems, but Mr Lovis assured us there were not. For them to pull out will affect people's livelihoods and makes people question whether to continue supporting Highway.”

But Lovis denied giving brokers advice on how much capacity the insurer had remaining.

Another massive high street broker warned that the move could change his relationship with Highway next year.

“I am not so concerned about the effects, because we can live with it,” the broker said. “But we need to know that they are going to be mature about their capacity next year.

“We can't be part of this Quixotic planning and we will willingly switch.”

He also expressed concerns that Highway was not “switching off” all of its brokers claiming it created an “uneven playing field”.

Other brokers were unconcerned by the move. Adrian Flux general manager Paul Twite said: “There are a number of markets where we can place business. But I can see how certain other brokers would have bigger problems than ourselves.”