Insurers were ready to defend commission payments in Washington this week to shore up the damage to the industry's reputation from Eliot Spitzer's inquiry.

The Senate sub-committee on financial management, budget and international security met on Tuesday to take hearings from the industry that will argue transparency of commissions is the answer, not the overall ban of the practice.

Meanwhile, Munich Re has been subpoenaed by the New York attorney general in relation to his investigations into Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC).

Munich Re confirmed that Munich America Risk Partners, a unit of American Re that is owned by the reinsurer, received two subpoenas for information at the beginning of November.

Zurich also this week suspended several employees of its underwriting unit in the specialties business of Zurich North America Commercial over unethical business practices.

In the UK, the Lloyd's franchise board will write to all Lloyd's managing agents to ask them to examine operations to make sure they are not engaging in anti-competitive practices. Hiscox and Catlin confirmed they had already launched internal investigations.

Pressure also continued to mount on the FSA to launch an investigation after Spitzer confirmed he has had discussions with foreign regulators.

Some claim Spitzer's investigation into the practice of 'tieing' among brokers offering reinsurance deals will lead to a "level playing field" for smaller brokers.

The major brokers, such as Aon, Marsh and Willis, offer reinsurance deals to insurers for their larger clients, known as tieing. Spitzer's inquiry is investigating allegations that the major brokers pressured insurers to only use their reinsurance divisions rather than buy reinsurance from the open market.