Lewes broker Berkeley Alexander is set to seek winding up proceedings against Hiscox following a row with Southend's Select & Protect. The move is understood to be a last ditch attempt by the broker to force the hand of Select & Protect - an agent of Hiscox.

Berkeley Alexander managing director Ted Yorke confirmed that he had taken legal advice over £250,000 in commission he claimed he was owed.

He would not comment specifically on the legal action, but said he was "about to sally forth".

He added that while his argument was not with Hiscox, legal action against the insurer was his last hope.

Hiscox and Select & Protect said it had no knowledge of any legal action being taken.

Yorke said he had a five-year tripartite contract with Select & Protect and Hiscox. He said Hiscox underwrote Select & Protect's private buildings and household contents insurance, which Berkeley Alexander distributed to its agents in a scheme arrangement.

Yorke claimed he was forced to take legal advice when Select & Protect cancelled his contract and withheld his commission.

"It suddenly decided we weren't supporting it enough, but the contract we have doesn't have a minimum level on it," he said.

"Select & Protect gets most of its business from agents and if it can do this to us, it can do this to anyone."

Sources said Yorke planned to start winding up proceedings against Hiscox, which he understood had ultimate control over Select & Protect's dealings with his company.

A Hiscox spokeswoman said the disagreement was between Select & Protect and Berkeley Alexander and had nothing to do with the insurer.

Select & Protect chief executive Simon Hood said he had not been told of any legal action.

"There are discussions going on about breach of contract by Berkeley Alexander but that's as far as it has gone," he said.